All Pakistani inmates with completed terms sent home from Saudi: Envoy

A general view of Ha’er Prison in Saudi Arabia July 6, 2015. (Reuters)
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Updated 14 January 2020

All Pakistani inmates with completed terms sent home from Saudi: Envoy

  • Pakistan’s ambassador says perception that there were still a large number of Pakistanis languishing in Saudi jails was incorrect
  • 88 Pakistanis out of a total 1,848 in the consular jurisdiction of Riyadh released and repatriated in December 2019

ISLAMABAD: No Pakistani prisoners who have completed their jail terms remain behind bars in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s envoy to the Kingdom, Raja Ali Ejaz, said on Sunday.

According to a document provided to Arab News by Pakistan’s embassy in Riyadh, 88 Pakistani prisoners out of a total 1,848 in the consular jurisdiction of Riyadh were released and repatriated in December 2019. Now 1,760 Pakistanis are imprisoned in Saudi jails.

“All Pakistani prisoners in consular jurisdiction Riyadh who had completed their sentences till December 31, 2019, have been released and repatriated to Pakistan,’ the ambassador said via telephone from Riyadh. “Saudi Authorities are coordinating and cooperating with us, due to which many prisoners were released even ahead of the completion of their term.”

Ejaz said the perception that there were still many Pakistanis languishing in Saudi jails was incorrect. “There is a very large Pakistani community, of around 2.6 million people, that resides in Saudi Arabia, out of which around 3,000 prisoners is not as big a number as propagated.”

“The embassy has devised a procedure with the help of the Saudi government to provide advance information to the host government every month from July 2019 onwards,” Ejaz said. “The (Pakistani) mission shared the names and identity particulars of Pakistani prisoners expected to be released during the following month,” he added. The division of the Kingdom into two consular jurisdictions, one in Riyadh and the other in Jeddah, had also made the process more seamless, the envoy said.

The Pakistani envoy said these steps helped the embassy maintain up-to-date data of Pakistani prisoners in Saudi jails while ensuring timely repatriation and releases.

In February 2019, Pakistan’s Information Ministry announced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the release of about 2,100 Pakistani prisoners from the Kingdom’s jails during a high-profile visit to Islamabad. In September last year, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia had released 579 Pakistani prisoners in line with the crown prince’s announcement.


Agreement signed to send 600 Pakistani medics to Kuwait 

Updated 04 July 2020

Agreement signed to send 600 Pakistani medics to Kuwait 

  • In May, Pakistan announced it was sending hundreds of health workers to Kuwait on request of the Gulf state
  • ‘Very happy Kuwait and us are helping each other in this crucial time,’ says Zulfikar Bukhari

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Kuwait on Saturday signed a government to government agreement for 600 Pakistani health care professionals to work in Kuwait, special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, Zulfikar Bukhari, told Arab News on Saturday.
Earlier in May, Pakistan announced it would send hundreds of its health workers, including doctors and nurses to Kuwait upon the request of the Gulf state, amid surging rates of infections and fatalities related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“100 doctors, 500 nurses and paramedics as of now,” Bukhari said in a Whatsapp message, and added the numbers could be increased.
“Very happy that Kuwait and us are helping each other in this crucial time,” he said, and added it would increase the bond between the two countries.
The agreement was signed at the headquarters of Kuwait’s Health Ministry.
“Today, Pakistan and Kuwait inked G to G agreement on recruitment of health care professionals. It was signed by, Undersecretary, M/o Health, Kuwait and Ambassador Sajjad on behalf of OEC of Pakistan,” the Pakistan embassy in Kuwait announced in a Twitter post.
Last month local Kuwaiti media reported that Kuwait’s expat doctors stranded in other countries would be flown home in July, including from Pakistan.
Pakistanis make up one of the largest group of foreigners living and working in Kuwait.