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August 31, 2018

6,450 Pakistanis incarcerated in seven jails of Gulf states


August 31, 2018

ISLAMABAD: As many as 6,450 Pakistanis were incarcerated in jails of seven Gulf countries in 2017-18, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday, according to a Geo News report.

In a written reply to the question of Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, he said 2,970 Pakistanis were incarcerated in various jails of Saudi Arabia, 2,600 in jails of United Arab Emirates (UAE), 657 in Oman, 128 in Bahrain, 54 were incarcerated in Qatari jails, 38 in jails of Kuwait and three Pakistanis were incarcerated in jails of Yemen in 2017-18.

The foreign minister said teams from Pakistani missions regularly visit jails and meet prisoners for any assistance that might be provided as per the law. He said after completion of the jail terms air tickets are provided to those Pakistanis who could not financially afford return to their country.

APP adds: The political parties from treasury and opposition benches in the Senate Thursday agreed to hold debate on the issue of rigging in Election 2018, but later deferred the discussion till Friday on an objection raised by the opposition leader Raja Zafarul Haq about absence of ministers and senators. Acting Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwala admitted the adjournment motion of Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi on the issue of rigging in election as Advisor to Prime Minister on Political Affairs Dr Babar Awan did not oppose its admission.

In support of his motion, Senator Javed Abbasi said the observers and international organisations agreed that the elections were the most rigged in the history of Pakistan. He said Election Commission of Pakistan was given the responsibility to hold the election and the Parliament thoroughly worked to create a financially independent Election Commission and enacted comprehensive legislation, but the election body failed to perform its responsibility.

He said the issue was related to the whole of Pakistan and it should be discussed threadbare by senators. After admission of the motion, as Senator Javed Abbasi formally started debate on the matter, Raja Zafarul Haq intervened and said the government and opposition agreed that it was the most important issue but as the ministers were not present, the chair should defer the matter till Friday.

The acting chairman also admitted the adjournment motion of Senator Mian Ateeq Shaikh regarding the fake clinics and dispensaries operating in rural areas increasing fatality rate in the country.

Senator Ateeq said Pakistan had the problem of fake clinics due to non-availability of proper health facilities. The provinces should be taken on board and the policies in this respect should be implemented. He said action should be taken against quacks.

The acting chairman referred the matter to the relevant committee and asked the mover to get passed a resolution so that the matter could be taken up with the provincial governments.

The senate also passed a resolution moved by Senator Raza Rabbani to mark the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, assuring the victims that senators from across the political divide will continue to support their cause.

Senator Sardar Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel presented reports on privilege motions moved by Senator Azam Khan Swati, Senator Mohsin Aziz and Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini on breach of their privilege by different government functionaries.

Due to absence of Finance Minister Asad Umer from the house, the chair deferred the calling attention notice of senators Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rahman and Dr Sikandar Mandhro on the demands raised by a delegation of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) during its recent visit regarding expeditious implementation of the recommendations agreed by Pakistan and the implications of FATF report on Pakistan’s grey listing.

Also, responding to a question asked by Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said new policy guidelines would be introduced with the consultation of provinces on issuance of licence for hunting.

The minister said issuance of licence for hunting is a provincial subject, and the Foreign Office can only designate the area after checking with the provinces that which areas are suitable for hunting.

She told the house that last provincial government had banned the hunting in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and we would clear the policy on other provinces and would like to continue the policy with the consensus of the provinces as its provincial subject.

She said the PTI government would conduct inquiries regarding the violation that took place in the tenure of last government as Supreme Court had imposed ban on hunting in 2015-16, but in 2017-13 41 licences had been issued.

Meanwhile, Senate was told that a total of 154 fake degree awarding institutions had been closed down by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) since its establishment in 2002. Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood said in a written reply to the question of Senator Nauman Wazir that 102 fake degree institutes were closed in Punjab, 36 in Sindh, 11 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, two in federal capital and three in fake degree institutes were closed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the HEC had been working in close cooperation with all provincial governments to check mushrooming growth of fake/illegal degree awarding institutions.

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