ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday informed National Assembly that in all 11,764 Pakistanis are imprisoned or detained in other countries and all accredited missions are extending all possible legal and consular assistance to them. The Advisor informed the House that respective diplomatic missions abroad undertake regular consular visits to the prisoners and detainees for necessary legal and financial assistance.
Pakistan’s Community Welfare and Education Fund being administered by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is also utilized to extend legal assistance to Pakistanis detained abroad, including payment of lawyer’s fee, fines and cost of repatriation of destitute Pakistanis detained or imprisoned abroad, upon completion of sentences or release from detention, he stated.
Answering another question, the Advisor said, 105 Pakistanis are detained in Bulgaria due to illegal crossing or overstay among whom six Pakistanis have been convicted while 99 are under detention due to overstay or illegal crossing.
The government is offering them legal assistance but apparently many among them are desire to move to other destinations instead of coming back.
He said diplomatic efforts are being made for their early repatriation to Pakistan. However, exact time of return cannot be given since the local law also involves in their repatriation.
When asked about verification of such citizens, the Advisor said, the government has a strict verification in place and there is no reason that citizens of other countries who might had traveled abroad on fake Pakistani documents, could be deported to Pakistan.
He explained that when such a situation arises the concerned missions ends details of persons that is verified here in Pakistan and when anybody is confirmed as Pakistani citizen his deportation is facilitated.
Answering a supplementary question, the Advisor said, 300 to 400 Pakistanis are also under detention in Turkey who have been sent there from European countries and Turkish government facilitating them till they are back to Pakistan.
He also informed the House that when any case of detention surfaces Pakistani mission in respective country approaches authorities and legal aid is provided of detained persons.
When asked about payment to lawyers, the Advisor said, it is paid by Welfare Attaché through the welfare fund to local lawyers in consultation with authorities in Pakistan.
Answering another question, the Advisor said, besides Iran, India and Gulf States, there is no Pakistani fisherman imprisoned elsewhere.