Saudi crown prince orders immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners


Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Monday announced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had ordered the immediate release of over 2,000 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi jails, hours after Prince Mohammad promised to deliver “whatever we can do” for Pakistanis living in the Kingdom.

Prime Minister Imran Khan at a ceremony held to welcome the crown prince at PM House on Sunday night had made a “special request” to MBS to look into the hardships of Pakistani labourers working in the kingdom, and to “look upon them as your own people”.

“There are some 3,000 [Pakistani] prisoners there and we just would like you to bear in mind that they are poor people who have left their families behind,” Khan said.

MBS had responded by assuring Imran to consider him Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Mohammad had continued: “We cannot say no to Pakistan … whatever we can do, we will deliver that.”

In a tweet, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced: “As a sequel to the premier’s request, HRH Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman has ordered the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi jails.”

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also noted that the crown prince had “graciously agreed” to free the Pakistani prisoners “with immediate effect”.

“Cases of the remaining will be reviewed. [The] people of Pakistan thank HRH for responding immediately to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request,” he added.

“Cases of the remaining will be reviewed,” he announced.

The foreign minister said the people of Pakistan thanked the crown prince for “responding immediately” to the premier’s request.

This was Prince Mohammad’s first state visit since becoming crown prince. Saudi Arabia has signed agreements worth $21 billion with Pakistan in various fields, including cooperation in power production, establishment of an oil refinery and petrochemical plant, promotion of sports and technical assistance in the standardisation sector.