Zimbabweans stranded in Pakistan prisons

ZIMBABWEANS are among more than 300 foreign nationals who remain stranded in Pakistan prisons despite completing their jail terms, it emerged Monday.

Authorities in Islamabad confirmed that 362 foreign prisoners from some 30 countries have completed their jail terms but cannot be released as they either have invalid travel documents or their home countries have not paid their travel expenses.

According to local media reports, among those said to be languishing in some of the country’s most notorious prisons are eight inmates from Zimbabwe, seven from South Africa and six from Zambia.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan recently told the country’s Senate that the foreigners had completed their jail terms but were still in jails due to problems with travel documents or unavailability of air tickets.

The government says efforts are under way to repatriate these prisoners. But the interior ministry cannot give a timeframe as the documentation process alone consumes considerable time.

Another minister added embassies had not contacted Islamabad for repatriation of their prisoners who have completed their terms.

But a former police chief said it was the government’s responsibility to approach the respective embassies for the release of foreign inmates.

“The government should repatriate them because their detention is illegal after the completion of their sentence and to ease the burden on the national exchequer,” he said.

“In case the country concerned is not interested in entertaining its own citizen, the host state should engage welfare organisations for their repatriation.”

Post published in: Economy

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