ISLAMABAD Sept 28 (APP): Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Wednesday said that 634 Pakistanis were detained in jails of South Asian countries for committing different offenses.
The Advisor told National Assembly during Question Hour that 242 Pakistanis are detained in Afghanistan, 42 in Bangladesh, 231 in India, 28 in Nepal, 82 in Sri Lanka and nine in Maldives.
He said the prisoners in Afghanistan have been detained on the offense of theft, overstay and scuffles while in India due to mistakenly crossing the border and overstay.
He said the number mentioned in the reply pertains to all categories of offense and Pakistani missions in respective countries extend all possible legal and counselor assistance to detained Pakistanis for their release and repatriation.
The diplomatic missions officials abroad undertake regular visits to the prisoners and detainees and services of Pakistan Community Welfare and Education Fund is also utilized where necessary to extend legal assistance to Pakistanis detained abroad, he added.
He said the missions abroad also facilitate Pakistani prisoners with payment of lawyer’s fees, fines and cost of repatriation of destitute Pakistan detainees and prisoners, upon completion of sentences or release from detention.
Answering another question, Sartaj Aziz said, there is large Muslim diaspora including from Pakistan in European countries who settled there since 1950s and most of them trace their origin to the former European colonies in Africa and Asia.
He said currently a certain trend of Right Wing populism and Islamophobia was evident in Europe and communities were resisting veiling and extremist activities.
The Advisor said the OIC is closely monitoring these trends and its member countries including Pakistan have been raising these issues at appropriate forums including bodies of the OIC and UN Human Rights Council.
The Advisor said that Pakistani missions in Europe also maintain close and active contact with Pakistani diaspora as well as interact with local host governments, parliaments and decision makers to respond to their misconceptions about the Muslims.
He called upon Pakistani people to continue promoting real image of Islam of peace and brotherhood as the government also tried to make world powers believe that it was not wise to link every extremist act with Islam.