ISLAMABAD: The government has spent over Rs16 million between 2010 and 2013 to bring back Pakistani prisoners languishing in jails abroad.
During the years 2010-11, 92 Pakistani prisoners – 90 in Gulf countries and two in Malaysia – were released after Pakistan paid fines and legal aid, said an official of Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on Wednesday.
He said a Special Cell on Overseas Pakistanis (SCOP) was established with a special mandate of getting prisoners released through payment of fines and legal fees.
In 2011-12, Pakistani missions in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, secured the release of 30 prisoners after paying fines.
These prisoners had completed their sentences for petty crimes but were in jails due to non-payment of fines, he said.
In April 2013, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs secured the release of 14 Pakistani fishermen jailed in India.
The ministry paid more than Rs1.3 million for one-way tickets of 32 destitute Pakistanis for their repatriation from Kuala Lumpur to Pakistan in April 2013, he added.
In June 2013, Rs8.8 million was paid in fines to bring back 77 Pakistani prisoners from Dubai, who had completed their sentences for petty crimes.
Similarly, Rs 1.6 million was paid for a Pakistani prisoner in jail in China who had completed five years sentence in May 2013 on charges of possessing fake documents, he informed.
Another Pakistani in jail in Nepal who had also completed his sentence was also brought back in June 2013 after paying Rs46,386. Both prisoners were sentenced for carrying fake Indian currency.
As many as 116 Pakistanis were in prison for burglary, sexual assault, theft, immigration violations and terrorism.
The other three countries where most Pakistanis are imprisoned are Italy where 131 are behind bars, 110 in Spain and 100 are languishing in jails in the Netherlands.
While most of the Pakistanis were imprisoned in the Netherlands for illegal entries, Italy and Spain have not given any specific reasons for imprisoning Pakistani nationals in their jails.