More than 400 Pakistanis are currently detained in five countries across Europe, the Middle East and South Asia, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said in a written reply to National Assembly (NA) question hour on Monday.
The Special Cell on Overseas Pakistanis (SCOP), in coordination with Pakistani missions abroad, is providing assistance to the detainees charged in cases of illegal immigration, theft and drug smuggling, the minister added.
Providing a breakdown, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that there were 314 Pakistani detainees in Kuwait, 60 in Hungary, 22 in Nepal, eight in Turkey and only one in Egypt. The foreign minister spoke about the release of 11 Pakistani detainees by Bangladesh and of 471 Bangladeshi citizens by Pakistan in the last four years, charged for unauthorized entry.
During the same period, the Afghan government freed 240 Pakistanis from the custody of its intelligence agencies and police while seven were released from Bagram prison.
Since March 2008, Pakistan released 1,636 Indian fisherman and civilian prisoners while India freed 767 Pakistanis, she added. However, when inquired about ‘alarmingly high’ number of detainees in Kuwait, the parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs Palwasha Behram Khan could not provide relevant details.
She instead referred to 92 prisoners whose freedom was secured by Pakistani missions in 2010-11. The parliamentary secretary informed that the missions in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are authorized by the government to pay fines for 30 prisoners. She added that SCOP and foreign missions also arrange for counseling sessions for the prisoners.Railways continue to suffer Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour briefed the house that only 153 out of 465 diesel electric (DE) locomotives were currently operational. “The (312) out of service locomotives are held up for want of imported spares which could not be procured in the past due to financial constraints,”
the minister told the National Assembly. He said that 184 DE locomotives of various classes were repaired in back shops during the year 2011-12. The financial position of Railways has only slightly improved, the minister added.
“It improved to the extent that we could pay salaries and pensions to Railways employees and finance PSD (Public Sector Development) projects of Railways.”
He said that finance division is issuing a subsidy of Rs2.53 billion per month for the salaries and pensions of Railways employees but it was insufficient. Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2013.