ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: There are presently 592 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails whereas further 308 Pakistanis are detained in various jails across Afghanistan, the National Assembly was told on Thursday.
In a written reply to a question, the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi apprised the House that as per the lists exchanged by Pakistan and India on January 1, 2020, there are 592 Pakistanis including 375 civil prisoners and 217 fishermen are presently incarcerated in Indian jails.
The foreign minister further told that as per our Mission in Kabul, there are presently 308 Pakistani prisoners in various Afghan jails.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi told that the Foreign Affairs Ministry through its High Commission in New Delhi regularly takes up with the concerned Indian authorities the issue of early repatriation and possible necessary facilitation including consular and legal assistance for the Pakistani prisoners. He said that our High Commission continues to make these efforts.
Qureshi further told that the Afghan government is not forthcoming in sharing information about the exact number of Pakistani detainees in different jails in Afghanistan and the nature of their crime and length of imprisonment. He said that the Afghan authorities do not allow regular consular access. However, our Embassy has devised a mechanism of monthly Consular meetings with Afghan authorities with regard to prisoner’s issues.
In addition, the told that the release of Pakistani prisoners is repeatedly raised with the Afghan government at all levels and platforms. Through the Ministry’s efforts, since February 23, 2018, 52 Pakistanis have been released from Afghan jails and repatriated to Pakistan, he added.
3,248 Pakistanis languishing in Saudi jails
To another question, the foreign minister told the National Assembly that there are presently around 3,248 Pakistani prisoners in the Saudi jails.
Qureshi told that our Missions in Saudi Arabia are actively pursuing the release of Pakistani prisoners as announced during the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud’s visit to Pakistan in February 2019. He said that as per the available information, a total of 2,080 prisoners have been released including those freed from the Saudi jails since the announcement.