At least 8,600 Pakistani prisoners, languishing in overseas prisons, have been released and repatriated after efforts made by Prime Minister Khan.
The largest number of prisoners were repatriated from countries in the Middle East. From Saudi Arabia, 2,020 prisoners were freed, 3,023 from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 668 from Iraq, 106 from Qatar, 113 from Kuwait and around 1,500 prisoners were freed from Malaysian jails.
Meanwhile, the government also sent two special aircraft to Malaysia for bringing the Pakistani prisoners back home.
The fate of thousands of Pakistanis locked up in prisons across the Middle East remains a sensitive issue in Pakistan.
Huge numbers of Pakistanis travel to the Middle East every year, with many working on construction sites or as domestic helpers. The remittances they send back are vital for Pakistan’s economy.
Earlier this month, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Aisha Farooqi had said during a weekly media briefing in Islamabad that the Pakistani embassy was in touch with the Saudi authorities over the release of the prisoners from Saudi prisons.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the release of about 2,100 Pakistani prisoners from the kingdom’s prisons during a high-profile visit to Islamabad in February last year.