What A Fine Day For Pakistanis Stuck In Kingdom’s Choked Justice System!

After a long struggle to get their protest recorded, poor Pakistani labourers have finally gained some success as today, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman has ordered the immediate release of 2,000 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi jails. 

After a glorious welcome to Prince MBS, Imran Khan made a special request to him to consider the hardship of Pakistani labourers working in the kingdom and to ”look upon them as your own people”.
Khan said that there are 3,000 Pakistani prisoners stuck in Saudi jails, who have left behind their families in search of a livelihood. 

”There are some 3,000 [Pakistani] prisoners there and we just would like you to bear in mind that they are poor people who have left their families behind” – said PM Imran Khan.

Reassuring that immediate measures will be taken, Prince said that Pakistan should consider him as its ambassador in KSA.

”We cannot say no to Pakistan … whatever we can do, we will deliver that” – Prince MBS stated.

Following the announcement, Imran Khan said that Prince has won the hearts of Pakistani people, and has promised to assure rights and protection to 2.5 million Pakistani workers residing in KSA.

People also reacted positively to this positive advancement, praising Khan for ideally talking about this issue at this moment:

THE LONG UNHEARD PLIGHT OF PAKISTAN’S WORKING COMMUNITY

As the relationships between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are improving, it was said to be the ideal time for Pakistan to speak to the kingdom on behalf of its struggling working community. And the expectations have been Approximately 2 million Pakistani workers are currently working there and contribute to the economy. They make up the second largest immigrant population in the kingdom. In the year 2016, their remittances amounted to $5.8 billion.

Pakistan is heavily dependent on the labour migration to fight poverty crisis and support the economy. In the year 2017, Pakistan received remittances of $19.3 billion from its nationals worldwide making us the fifth highest recipient of remittances globally.

But unfortunately, they were left there without any support or aid. With prolonged non-payment of salaries, inadequate living conditions and unfair trials for Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia, our people have suffered majorly. There are approximately 11,000 Pakistanis imprisoned abroad. Among them, 3309 are in Saudi Arabia, which also executes the highest number of Pakistanis imprisoned. Majority of them are facing drug charges and belong to financially weaker backgrounds and have fallen prey to recruiting firms and agents.

However, Pakistan had maintained a deaf ear towards them – until today. In a report by Justice Project Pakistan on Pakistani prisoners in Saudi Criminal Justice System, these detainees didn’t even seek consular services from Pakistani embassy or consulate because they feel no help or assistance will be provided to them.

Detainees also said that Pakistani officials hardly visit them unlike representatives of other countries. They said that the only help provided to them is with deportation procedures.
Senator Sehar Kamran, who has previously spent time in KSA, said that the representatives are not interested in supporting the Pakistani community abroad and rather act like “viceroys”.

With terrible prison conditions and ill-treatment, Pakistani prisoners also face violations in the form of lack of access to legal assistance, pressure on detainees to sign confessions, long period of detention without charge or trial, accepting pre-determined prison sentences and ineffective translation services.

Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Watson said that Saudi Arab has made absolutely no effort to improve life for Pakistani immigrants.

‘’Despite years of promising reforms, Saudi authorities blatantly disregard the rights of both Saudis and Non-Saudis in criminal cases. Its treatment of Pakistani defendants shows just how far Saudi Arabia has to go improve the rule of Law’’ – she said.

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