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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Saudi Arabia will not release Pakistani prisoners held for drug smuggling

Out of 2000 Pakistani prisoners, only 563 were emancipated from Saudi jails. Saudi authorities refused to release a large number of remaining prisoners mostly caught in drug smuggling cases.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has turned down Pakistan’s request to immediately release prisoners under trial in drug smuggling cases.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry asserted that under trial prisoners will complete their trial according to the Saudi law and their release was not possible until their cases were concluded. Out of the release of 2,100 Pakistani prisoners as agreed between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, only 563 were freed.

The details were shared during the meeting of the Sub-Committee of the National Assembly Standing Committee on the Overseas Pakistanis session, which was chaired by Mahreen Razaque Bhutto

The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation informed the committee that despite the agreement between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, 60% of the Pakistani detainees could not be released as they were involved in drug smuggling cases.

The total number of Pakistani inmates in Saudi Arabia was 3,000 of which 563 were released as a result of an agreement between the two states. OPF told the committee that Saudi Arabia had announced a royal pardon for 315 prisoners.

Read more: MBS orders release of Pakistani prisoners in KSA jails

Officials informed the committee that two weeks ago 65 Pakistani prisoners were released from Thailand, where 46 were freed from Sri Lanka. The meeting also argued that only 7-9% were prisoners were convicted in Pakistan, stressing for more criminals to be convicted to control the crime rate.

Meher Razzak Bhutto expressed her bewilderment over the inability of the authorities to overlook the smuggling of drugs. Adding that 29 kgs of heroin were loaded in the plane and smuggled to the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, arguing that it reflects the failure of the staff of the concerned authorities to curb drug trafficking from Pakistan.

Earlier, Crown Prince MBS had ordered the release of more than 2000 Pakistani prisoners stuck in Saudi jail during his high-profile visit to Islamabad in February. He had ordered the release upon the request of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.