Saudi Arabia has released 28 Pakistani prisoners who were languishing in the kingdom’s prison system, in a drive by Islamabad to free numerous Pakistani nationals detained over petty crimes.
The freed inmates were transported from the eastern Saudi city of Dammam and arrived in Lahore this morning, making them the latest batch to return to their home country following the efforts of Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Bilal Akbar on behalf of the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Prior to their return, Islamabad’s Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib addressed the release of the inmates on Twitter yesterday, stating: “Due to the special efforts of PM Imran, more Pakistanis imprisoned in Saudi Arabia have been released and will arrive at the Lahore International Airport at 6am on Tuesday.”
It comes after 62 other Pakistani prisoners were released by Saudi authorities and returned to the country in time for Eid Al-Adha last month. The returns follow on from a deal struck in 2019 between Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, which agreed to the release of 2,100 inmates imprisoned in the kingdom.
Upon the return of the 62 prisoners last month, Khan stated on Twitter: “Helping Pakistanis in prisons abroad & assisting in their return to Pakistan is my govt’s commitment to our people.”