The Foreign Office announced on Saturday that Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani national who spent over two decades being held in the US military jail at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, has returned to Pakistan.
After spending the previous 18 years in custody, Paracha, who was reportedly the oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, has now arrived in Pakistan.
“We are glad that a Pakistani citizen detained abroad has finally reunited with his family,” a handout issued by the foreign ministry said.
According to the announcement, the ministry finished a protracted interagency process for the repatriation of Paracha.
The news was also tweeted by Bilawal Bhutto, the foreign minister.
Mr. Paracha, who was detained in Guantanamo Bay 🇺🇸 , has been released & reached 🇵🇰 on Saturday. The Foreign Ministry completed an extensive inter-agency process to facilitate repatriation of Mr. Paracha. We are glad that a citizen detained abroad is reunited with his family. https://t.co/VSTOTAbuMP
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) October 29, 2022
In 2003, Paracha was detained in Bangkok after it was discovered that he had contact with al Qaeda. He was brought to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan before being transported to Guantanamo Bay. The charges made against Paracha were never established.
The 75-year-old businessman from Karachi who resided in the US was charged with providing financial support for the 9/11 attacks and al-Qaeda.
The US government granted Paracha’s release in 2021 after his son, who was also detained by US authorities for allegedly assisting suspected militants in entering the country, was freed in 2020.
In 2021, his son—who had graduated from the Institute of Business Administration—came back to Pakistan. In 2005, he received a 30-year prison term; however, in 2018, the conviction was reversed.
The FBI arrested Paracha at the airport in Bangkok, where he had gone to see an American business associate. He was also charged with bringing explosives into the US illegally.