Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari has drawn the attention of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the plight of Pakistani prisoners in jails of foreign countries despite completing their sentences in Saudi Arabia, India and other countries.
A report submitted by the interior ministry in the Lahore High Court in September last year had revealed that there were 11,803 overseas Pakistanis in foreign jails. The statistics were obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the light of a direction issued by the court.
As per the report, 2,937 Pakistanis were jailed in Saudi Arabia, 1,842 in Greece, 582 in India, 177 in Afghanistan, 242 in China, 226 in Malaysia and some others.
Mazari discussed the issue of the recent killing of Pakistani prisoner Shakirullah in India.
Talking to Head of Delegation of ICRC in Pakistan Reto Stocker yesterday, the minister stressed the need for resolving the issue of Pakistani prisoners abroad and protection of their rights. Dr Mazari apprised the ICRC head of circumstances in which the Pakistani prisoner, Shakirullah, was beaten up and tortured to death by inmates of the central jail in Indian city of Jaipur on Feb 20 in the aftermath of the Pulwama incident in the India-held Kashmir. According to Shakirullah’s family, he was arrested in 2003 after he mistakenly crossed the border.
Pakistan had lodged a strong protest with India over the incident. The Foreign Office in a press release on Feb 21 had stated that they had been informed that Shakirullah had suffered injuries following a “scuffle” between fellow inmates in the television room of the jail, “which proved fatal”. The FO noted that as per some Indian media reports, Shakirullah was lynched.
Ms Mazari informed the ICRC delegation that Shakirullah was tortured and killed under state patronage in the Indian jail, adding that India had failed to protect right to life of the Pakistani prisoner.