Thousands of Pakistanis Stranded in Foreign Prisons – Seeking a Better Life Amid Challenges

pakistanis in jail

In a recent disclosure, the Foreign Affairs Ministry revealed that over 12,000 Pakistani citizens are currently suffering in prisons abroad. The staggering number of incarcerated individuals has become a matter of concern for the nation, with the majority of them being held in Arab countries.

According to the statistics presented by the ministry in the lower house of parliament, approximately 6,200 Pakistanis are imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. 

The data indicated that 1,612 Pakistani citizens are detained in Abu Dhabi, 1,596 in Riyadh, 1,504 in Jeddah, and 1,488 in Dubai.

Beyond the Arab countries, significant numbers of Pakistanis are also held in other nations. As per official documents, 811 Pakistanis are imprisoned in Greece, 672 in Iraq, 329 in Turkey, 239 in China, 275 in Britain, 209 in Qatar, 208 in Manama, 151 in Malaysia, 119 in Germany, 115 in Spain, 98 in the United States, 94 in Sri Lanka, 55 in Kuwait, 44 in Australia, 32 in Denmark, 21 in Maldives, 13 in Afghanistan, 12 in Jordan, and eight in Nigeria.

The situation is particularly challenging in Saudi Arabia, where many Pakistani migrant workers reside. A significant portion of those detained in Saudi jails faces drug smuggling charges, making their release more difficult due to the severity of the offenses.

With increasing costs of living and limited opportunities at home, many young Pakistanis are seeking better prospects in European countries, even at the risk of their lives. 

Tragically, last month, at least 350 Pakistanis were aboard an overloaded boat that capsized in open seas off Greece. The fishing boat, designed for 400 people, had over 700 passengers, leading to one of Europe’s deadliest shipping disasters in recent years. 

As a result, 281 Pakistani families have reached out to the government for assistance, while 193 others have taken DNA tests to identify their deceased loved ones.

Authorities have taken action against human traffickers who exploit desperate migrants. Several smugglers and their agents were arrested, with the ringleader identified as being based in Libya. 

These criminals charged around $8,000 per person to illegally transport them to Europe via sea routes after first traveling legally to Dubai, Egypt, and Libya.

The plight of thousands of Pakistanis stuck in foreign prisons highlights the challenges faced by those seeking a brighter future abroad. 

As the government addresses the situation, it calls for concerted efforts to curb human trafficking and create better opportunities at home, thus curbing the need for such perilous journeys.

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