Former Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari recently made strong statements against Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The former SAPM accused FIA of being involved in the illegal exit of Pakistanis.
He made the statements during a conference honoring International Migrants Day, hosted by Justice Project Pakistan (JPP). To clarify, the conference aimed to discuss a comprehensive strategy for Pakistanis imprisoned abroad and to provide them with basic rights.
Taking note of this, Zulfi Bukhari recalled issues he faced during his time as SAPM. He stated that bureaucracy served as a major obstacle while launching initiatives for the protection of overseas Pakistanis.
During this, Zulfi Bukhari also revealed that he lodged more than 400 complaints to FIA. However, he received no response.
“I have given either 406, or 436 written complaints to FIA on what we feel that people have been exploited. Till the day I resigned, I did not get an answer on one,” Zulfi Bukhari said.
Furthermore, he asserted that no one can go abroad illegally without the consent of FIA.
“I will categorically say that there is no way that anybody leaves here [Pakistan] illegally without the help of FIA. I mean, it’s just not possible,” Zulfi Bukhari said.
Sayed Zulfi Bukhari @sayedzbukhari says, "It is imperative that a diverse selection of properly trained Community Welfare Attaches (CWA) should be present in all Pakistani embassies all over the world."#InternationalMigrantsDay#PakistanisJailedAbroad #WeMatter pic.twitter.com/6NkRlLjpvi
— Justice Project Pakistan (@JusticeProject_) December 14, 2021
Pakistanis jailed abroad
According to several reports, more than 15000 Pakistanis faced detention in foreign countries. The Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) underlined the need for early release of those prisoners jailed against crimes for example violation of local immigration laws.
Similarly, JPP also wrote a report revealing that the number of Pakistanis in foreign jails increased due to the lack of a uniform consular protection policy. Gulf countries reported the highest increase in the number of Pakistani inmates. In Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the number increased from 1,506 to 3,248 and 1,800 to 2,600, respectively.
The detained Pakistanis also suffer due to process violations such as long periods of detention without charge or trial. They have no access to legal assistance and are unable to navigate through the Saudi criminal justice system, it also said.
However, the JPP report also noted that Pakistan can bring the prisoners back through transfer agreements.