x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Rulers pardon 250 prisoners

UAE rulers have pardoned 250 Pakistani prisoners who can now be repatriated to their homeland.

DUBAI // Rulers across the Emirates have pardoned about 250 Pakistani prisoners.

The prisoners can now be repatriated to their homeland.

Sheikh Khalifa, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, pardoned 80 prisoners.

The Pakistan embassy had been in talks with Sheikh Mohammed, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during Ramadan for the release of between 80 and 100 prisoners.

The 250 prisoners pardoned included those whose sentences were being discussed by the embassy and Sheikh Mohammed.

A statement from the embassy said, “The Ambassador of Pakistan Mr Jamil Ahmed Khan and the Consul General of Pakistan Mr Tariq Iqbal Soomro in a statement extended their profound thanks to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Rulers of all other states of UAE for granting pardon to around 250 Pakistani prisoners before the end of Ramadan.”

Additionally, Mr Khan, the Pakistani ambassador in Abu Dhabi, said, “We put a request to the Abu Dhabi Government at the beginning of Ramadan and His Highness agreed to pardon 80 prisoners. It is an unprecedented step for us and it was the first time we had made the request.”

Mr Khan thanked Sheikh Khalifa for granting the pardon and hoped that more prisoners would be pardoned by Sheikh Mohammed before the end of the month.

He said the prisoners had completed most of their sentences for a range of offences including immigration violations, theft, assault, financial crimes and even murder.

“The longest terms were for up to 17 years for the most heinous crimes,” he said.

An agreement between the UAE and Pakistan to allow for the transfer of prisoners was also expected to be finalised “shortly”, he said.

The Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons had been given approval at cabinet level by the UAE and was awaiting similar confirmation by the Pakistani government.

“It has been signed, but we are just finalising the details on location of the prisons offenders will be transferred to and to what extent the pardons will apply to them,” Mr Khan said.

nhanif@thenational.ae