foreign ministry has stepped up efforts to secure the release of Pakistani Prisoners

The foreign ministry has stepped up efforts to secure the release of Pakistanis languishing in foreign prisons despite having completed their sentences, officials said.
A special unit which deals with overseas Pakistan is tackling the issue, Express news 24/7 has learnt.
Over 1,200 prisoners are currently in detention for no reason, officials added. Of these, around 761 (including 50 fishermen) are held in Indian jails. “The majority of them have already completed their sentence,” said a senior official.
Some 22 Pakistanis imprisoned in Central Asian countries have not actually been proven guilty of any crime. Fourteen Pakistanis in Azerbaijan, four in Georgia, two in Tajikistan and two in Kazakhstan find themselves in the same situation. Charges have been levelled against them without sufficient evidence, according to information from the legal wing of the foreign office.
The figures also revealed that close to 50 Pakistanis are imprisoned in African countries.
“The foreign office is in regular contact with countries where Pakistanis are imprisoned illegally,” said Sher Bahadur Khan, legal director of the foreign ministry.
“Consular access is available to all prisoners abroad and our missions are providing the services of interpreters, where required.” Defence counsel is provided to the detainees by the host governments, Khan said, adding that where this facility is not available, Pakistani missions abroad provide legal aid to them from the Pakistan Community Welfare and Education Fund.
Last week, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that Pakistan has taken up the issue of its citizens being held in jails abroad illegally with other countries. The issue has also been discussed with Indian officials before awarding India the status of most favoured nation. Khar has asked Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir to monitor a special cell for overseas Pakistanis so that the problem can be handled with more focus.
Pakistanis imprisoned in Gulf countries
The ministry of foreign affairs also collected details of Pakistanis convicted of various crimes in the Gulf countries over the last three years, officials told The Express News 24/7.
Around 823 Pakistanis, including 15 women, are in jails in Gulf states, the officials said, quoting details sent by the Pakistani consulate in Dubai.

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