ISLAMABAD - A total of 6,738 Pakistanis have been lan­guishing in different prisons in Gulf coun­tries, reveals the official data.

The official data available with The Nation shows that 1,825 Pakistanis are languishing in Riyadh and 1,359 in Jeddah jails, making it 3,184 in total languishing in Saudi Ara­bian jails; 2,765 in UAE (935 in Abu-Dhabi & Al-Ain, 1,830 in Dubai & Northern Emir­ates); 99 in Kuwait; 476 in Oman; 96 in Qa­tar; and 118 in Bahrain.

Officials said that Pakistani Missions have been extending all possible assistance to the prisoners by providing consular access to them. The missions have also ensured legal assistance in the form of payment of law­yer fee and provision of translation facility to the Pakistani prisoners. Efforts were also underway for inclusion of Pakistani prison­ers in pardon lists on special occasions.

Pakistani officials have also forwarded mercy petitions to Rulers’ Court in some cases. They said each prisoner has a differ­ent date of release depending upon the na­ture of crime committed and payment of fine as some of them are under trial. As per available data provided by the local authori­ties, four Pakistani nationals are likely to be released from UAE jails in 2021, 2022 and 2023 after completing their sentences and payment of fine amounting 1000 AED.

According to the official figures, there are over 10,000 Pakistanis languishing in different jails abroad. Of them, over 6,000 have been held guilty on different charges whereas cases of 4,500 are still pending in the courts of law.

It is to be mentioned here that about 4,000 Pakistani inmates facing charges of drug smuggling while over 1,200 have been detained for travelling without proper doc­uments.