572 Pakistani prisoners to be freed under UAE President’s Ramazan amnesty: FO

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ISLAMABAD, May 16 (APP):As many as 572 Pakistani prisoners in various jails of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to be released during Ramazan under amnesty announced by the UAE president.

The Pakistanis were among the 3,005 prisoners who were pardoned by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as an act of kindness during the blessed month of Ramazan, Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Faisal said at a weekly press briefing here at the Foreign Office (FO).

He said the Emirate-wise break-up of Pakistani prisoners to be released was Abu Dhabi and Al Ain (262), Dubai (177), Sharjah (52), Ajman (65) and Fujairah (16).

He said Pakistan’s mission in the UAE was in touch with the local authorities for the prisoners’ release and deportation to Pakistan and providing them necessary assistance including issuance of out-passes, passports and air tickets, where required.

At present, around 2,409 Pakistani nationals were languishing in eight UAE jails, facing imprisonment in different minor and major crimes, he added.

On Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the spokesman said the foreign minister was scheduled to pay an official visit to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on May 21 to 22 to participate in the meeting of SCO Council of Foreign Ministers.

He said the meeting was taking place in pursuance of a statutory vision of the SCO that required to be completed one month ahead of the meeting of Heads of States on June 13 to14, where Prime Minister Imran Khan was expected to attend the event.

He said the prime minister’s participation at the SCO moot would highlight Pakistan’s interest in peace and security in the region and give the country’s perspective on foreign policy issues.

“SCO is an important forum that allows us economic linkages with region in the area of energy and transport to help us promote Pakistan as a regional economic corridor,” he said.

The spokesman said there was no development following Pakistan’s decision on Wednesday to extend its airspace ban for flights to India till May 30. Foreign flights using Indian airspace were also not allowed to cross over Pakistan, he added.

He expressed concern over the decision of the United States to deploy warships and bombers in Middle East to pressurize Iran, saying the step had added to the tension in existing precarious security situation in the region.

“We expect all sides to show restraint as a miscalculated move could transmute into a large scale catastrophe,” he said.

On visa row between Pakistan and the US, he said Pakistan’s position was persistent and clear that only those individuals could be deported to Pakistan who had exhausted all legal remedies to stay in the US and duly verified by the government of Pakistan as its nationals.

He said around 50 Pakistanis arrived in Islamabad Wednesday via chartered flight and added further details could be obtained from the relevant authorities including interior ministry and Federal Investigation Agency.

The spokesman strongly condemned the horrific and inhuman incident of a rape of three-year old girl in north Kashmir’s Sumbal area .

He said Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir under the presidential rule had been turned into a military camp, where the people faced occupation, injustice, harassment, brutality and barbarism.

“India should stop misleading the international community and accept the ground reality and respect the aspirations of the people of Kashmir instead of its continuing policy of violence,” he said.

He said Kashmiris were writing down the history with their blood, which the Indian forces could not hide from the world community.

The spokesman said Pakistan would continue to work with Afghanistan for voluntary and dignified repatriation of refugees as year 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of their presence in Pakistan.

He said Pakistan was in touch with the Afghan government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the repatriation of refugees and mentioned that the country had demonstrated exemplary hospitality to Afghan refugees.