ISLAMABAD, Dec 23: As many as 8,715 Pakistanis are languishing in prisons of different countries and the ministry concerned is making efforts to ensure their early release, according to official sources. The government had established a Special Cell for Overseas Pakistanis to take up such cases, sources said. The cell looked into complaints received from relatives of oversees Pakistanis in coordination with Pakistani missions abroad, they said.

Last year, they said, the release of 92 detainees and prisoners (90 in the Gulf countries and two in Malaysia) was secured through
payment of fines and provision of legal aid. Pakistani missions in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were authorised to pay fines of 30 prisoners who had not committed heinous crimes and had completed their sentences but were still in jails due to non-payment of fines.

Moreover, the government had signed bilateral agreements on transfer of lawbreakers with UAE, UK, Thailand and Sri Lanka, the sources said.—APP