Islamabad, Aug. 30 (TNS): Senator Rehman Malik calls on the government to protect the rights of Pakistanis jailed abroad.
A delegation of Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), led by Barrister Sarah Belal, met with Senator Rehman A. Malik and discussed matters related to Pakistani prisoners imprisoned in Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and other countries.
The meeting took place in his office today on Thursday and was also attended by Ms. Malaika Raza of Pakistan People Party (PPP). The JPP delegation, on behalf of the family members of overseas prisoners, appealed to Senator Malik to raise the issue of Pakistani nationals imprisoned in different countries with the government of Pakistan as they are passing through the most vulnerable situation, facing harshest punishments and lacking legal assistance.
JPP executive director Sarah Belal briefed the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Senator A. Rehman Malik that there are currently 189 Pakistani nationals in Iranian Jails – many of them sentenced for drug offences. She added that on 25th October, 2017, the Guardian Council of Islamic Republic of Iran approved a bill easing the application of death penalty in certain cases. As a result of this amendment, Pakistani citizens imprisoned on Iranian Death Row are now entitled to commutation of their death sentences.
Senator A. Rehman Malik commended the Iranian Government’s efforts for easing their drug laws and providing relief to those who have been sentenced under previous standards. He vowed to take up the issue of “Pakistani missions not providing legal aid to overseas Pakistani Prisoners, according to international standards and the laws of the host countries” with the government. Criticizing the previous and the incumbent governments for their lack of support for Pakistanis abroad, Senator A. Rehman Malik said, “Our government initiated a prisoner transfer agreement with Iran but the subsequent governments failed to build upon it.”
He added, “Pakistani Embassies and missions must abide by their primary responsibility to provide consular services to all those who have been imprisoned and detained in foreign jails.”
He has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to instruct all Pakistani embassies to provide complete category-wise data of Pakistani prisoners abroad, including the nature of their offences and their sentences.
Senator Malik also appreciated barrister Belal for her role in bringing back 40 Pakistani nationals back to the country from Bagram by providing them with the necessary legal assistance.
There are currently 9360 Pakistanis imprisoned in other countries. Without access to lawyers, consular assistance and impartial translators, the fates of these Pakistanis are at the mercy of local courts. These destitute Pakistanis have also been failed by the Pakistani missions abroad.