There has been no update regarding the release of Pakistani prisoners from Saudi jails, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Senate Committee on Human Rights during a briefing on Thursday.
“We have been informed that the list of prisoners hasn’t been even shared with the Saudi government,” said committee chairperson Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar while speaking to SAMAA TV.
In February, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistanis incarcerated in Saudi jails. The move came after Prime Minister Imran Khan requested the crown prince to release the prisoners during his visit to Pakistan.
“Many people were quite happy when they heard the news. We, however, have found out that there has been no progress so far,” Khokhar said. “We had hoped that our brothers imprisoned there will come back soon.”
He remarked that it is quite “disturbing” to know that many prisoners haven’t been released as yet. “We will pursue the case on our level and the government should pursue it too,” he added.
As many as 1.6 million Pakistani migrant workers have been living in Saudi Arabia, making it the country’s second-largest migrant community. At least 2,937 Pakistanis are currently jailed in Saudi Arabia, according to an interior ministry report which was submitted in the Lahore High Court on September 14, 2018.
More Pakistanis are executed in the Kingdom than any other foreign nationals, reports Caught in a Web: Treatment of Pakistanis in the Saudi Criminal Justice System (2018). The research was conducted by the Justice Project Pakistan and Human Rights Watch.