UAE to free 572 Pakistani prisoners, foreign office says

People stand outside the federal supreme court in Abu Dhabi, November 27, 2011. Pakistan said on Thursday that the United Arab Emirates had decided to free 572 Pakistani prisoners in its jails. (REUTERS/File)
Updated 17 May 2019
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UAE to free 572 Pakistani prisoners, foreign office says

  • Foreign office says good news also expected soon on release of prisoners from Saudi jails
  • Condemns recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities

ISLAMABAD: The United Arab Emirates had decided to free 572 Pakistani prisoners languishing in jails across the country, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on Thursday, in good news for the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan which has made the release of prisoners abroad a priority.
There are some 2,600 Pakistanis imprisoned in the UAE and around 3,400 in Saudi Arabia on different charges, including murder and drug-peddling.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had also ordered the release of about 2,100 Pakistani prisoners from the kingdom’s jails during a high-profile visit to Islamabad.
“Our mission in the UAE is in touch with the relevant authorities to expedite their [Pakistanis] release and deportation,” Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Mohammad Faisal said at a weekly press briefing.
Giving a rough number of Pakistanis in jails across the UAE, he said 262 were in Abu Dhabi, 65 in Ajman, 62 in Fujairah and 52 in Sharjah.
“We will also hear good news regarding the release of Pakistani prisoners from Saudi jails very soon,” the foreign office spokesman said in response to a question.
Last month, the Paksitani foreign minister said Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in the Kingdom was working with Saudi officials for the release of 2,107 prisoners as ordered by the Saudi crown prince.
The Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on Overseas Pakistanis, Syed Zulfi Bukhari, met the Dubai police chief Maj. Gen. Abdullah Khalifa Al Mari in January this year in Dubai and devised a mechanism to share date on prisoners with the aim of swift repatriation.
“The exchange of data is expected to help Islamabad make arrangements for repatriation of prisoners well before they are released,” the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development had said in a statement.
Pakistan’s Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas informed the National Assembly earlier this month that Saudi Arabia was expected to release Pakistani prisoners during Ramadan under a “special clemency law.”
Out of around eight million overseas Pakistanis, more than 11,000 are languishing in foreign jails, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ data. Other than those in Saudi and UAE jails, there are some 1,842 Pakistanis jailed in Greece, 582 in India, 177 in Afghanistan, 242 in China, 188 in Iran, and 226 in Malaysia.
Commenting on the recent escalation in US-Iranian tensions following Washington’s decision this month to try to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero and to beef up its military presence in the Gulf in response to what it said were Iranian threats, Faisal said the situation could prove dangerous for regional peace.
“Any miscalculation can lead to a large scale conflict in the region,” he said.
He also condemned recent attacks this week on Saudi oil tankers off the coast of the UAE as well as drone attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities.
“Pakistan condemns attacks on Saudi Arabia, and believes that such attacks can endanger peace of the Middle East and the whole region,” Faisal said.


What is pulling Pakistan’s currency six feet under?

Updated 45 min 49 sec ago
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What is pulling Pakistan’s currency six feet under?

  • Arab News hits the money trade markets to ask what factors are pushing the rupee down
  • Traders, businessmen, and citizens in a state of panic triggered by a dollar frenzy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s rupee reached a new record low this week, selling at 153 against the dollar in the interbank market on Monday, continuing a slide that saw it lose more than 5 percent last week in the wake of a $6 billion loan accord with the International Monetary Fund.
Almost ten days after the new IMF accord, money traders are still uncertain which direction Pakistan’s currency will move. Some expect it will eventually stabilze while others are pessimistic about its future. But most traders, businessmen, and citizens across the country remain in a state of panic triggered by the dollar frenzy. 
Arab News hit the money trade markets in Islamabad to gauge the gravity of the situation and explore prime factors pulling Pakistan’s currency six feet under.