315 Pakistani prisoners from Malaysia to arrive home on May 29

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: As many as 315 Pakistanis languishing in Malaysian detainee camps despite completing their jail terms will return home on May 29 after provision of financial and legal assistance from the government of Pakistan.

“The government will bear all the expenses to be incurred on their repatriation,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari said on Thursday.

“Thanks a lot to the Almighty, 315 Pakistani prisoners, who could not afford to buy air tickets, will be spending Eid-ul-Fitr with their families in Pakistan,” Zulfikar Bukhari said.

“The credit goes to Prime Minister Imran Khan”, who had ordered swift action in this regard, he added.

Zulfikar Bukhari said when he received information about the Pakistani prisoners stranding in Malaysia despite completion of their sentences, he took up the matter with the federal cabinet.

On his request, he said, the prime minister directed the Bait-ul-Mal and Foreign Office to release Rs40 million and Rs10mn respectively for bringing the stranded Pakistanis back.

The Special Assistant said the cabinet had assigned him the task to ensure their safe repatriation before the Eid.

The officials of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) and the Community Welfare attaché in Malaysia were in constant contact with the authorities concerned there to fast track the process of their return.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BEOE) Director General Kashif Noor said that they had informed the Malaysian authorities regarding completion of the formalities to repatriate the 315 Pakistanis to the country on May 29. The prisoners would be airlifted through a Boeing 777 of the Pakistan International Airlines and the OPF had signed an agreement with the PIA in that regard, he added.

Kashif said initially it was estimated that around Rs60mn would be required as transportation charges and other costs, which, however, had been reduced to Rs50mn on the intervention of Zulfikar Bukhari.

Earlier, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar had also written a letter to his Malaysian counterpart seeking legal relief for the Pakistani expatriates imprisoned in jails there.

A senior official of the Overseas Ministry said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was the first to take keen interest in bringing back overseas Pakistanis languishing in foreign jails.

The United Arab Emirates, he said, had also announced the release of around 572 Pakistani prisoners as part of a pardon from UAE President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan during the holy month of Ramzan.

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