Islamabad: The UAE government has released 572 Pakistani prisoners as part of an amnesty by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan during the month of Ramadan. a Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson said on Thursday.
During his weekly press briefing in Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said: “Subsequent to the order of the president of the UAE to pardon 3,005 prisoners, serving sentences in different jails of the UAE under various categories, the government of the UAE has decided to release 572 Pakistani prisoners,” he said.
“To expedite the release and deportation of prisoners, Pakistan is constantly in touch with the local authorities and “is extending all necessary assistance, including the issuance of outpasses, passports and air tickets, where required,” he added.
I am highly grateful to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for this kind gesture.
Under the presidential pardon, around 262 Pakistanis are to be freed from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain prison, 177 from Dubai, 52 from Sharjah, 65 from Ajman and 16 from Fujairah.
Pakistanis welcome the UAE gesture
Pakistanis have warmly welcomed the gesture by the UAE President. “I am highly grateful to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for this kind gesture, which will bring special joy on Eid to the families of prisoners who had long been praying for their release,” Ansar Burney, a leading human rights activist, told Gulf News.
Burney requested the UAE government to pay special attention to women and children in prison and those who have completed their sentences but couldn’t pay their fines.
2,409Pakistani nationals are in eight UAE jails currently, facing imprisonment in various major and minor cases
Several people took to social media to thank the UAE government. “Such an amazing gesture from our brethren in this holy month of Ramadan,” tweeted Pakistani businessman, Javed Afridi. He conveyed special thanks to the UAE Ambassador to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Ebrahim Salem Al Zaabi, for his efforts.
Pakistani prisoners in foreign jails
Around 2,409 Pakistani nationals are languishing in eight UAE jails, facing imprisonment in different minor and major crimes, according to Pakistan’s community welfare attaches which are tasked to collect data of prisoners and assist in legal guidance.
The offence-wise data of 1,902 prisoners shows that 735 have been imprisoned in major crimes, while 1,167 have been imprisoned in minor offences.
In January 2018, the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfi Bukhari and Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander in Chief of Dubai Police held a meeting to devise a mechanism for swift repatriation of prisoners and to form a joint committee to resolve issues faced by Pakistani prisoners in Dubai.
A 2018 report by the Pakistan Interior Ministry revealed that out of total 8.8 million overseas Pakistanis, 11,803 are in foreign jails. There are some 2,937 Pakistanis jailed in Saudi Arabia, 1,842 in Greece, 582 in India, 242 in China, 226 in Malaysia, 188 in Iran and 177 in Afghanistan.