ISLAMABAD - There are more than four thousand Pakistanis detained in various detention centres in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Islamabad with the cooperation of Riyadh are struggling to resolve the issue at the earliest.
Diplomatic sources told The Nation on Friday that these Pakistanis are those who were rendered illegal as a result of the change in the foreign workers visa regime in Saudi Arabia. They were arrested from various parts of Saudi Arabia and brought to these detention centres, sources said, adding that they failed to pay heed to the Pakistani mission despite requests to register themselves in view of the new visa regime.
Pakistani officials are regularly in touch with the Saudi authorities and have been visiting the detention centres. They have been talking to Pakistanis and trying to help those nationals to come back to Pakistan, the sources said.
The sources further said that as result of efforts of Pakistan’s ambassador as well as Counsel General, nine hundred thousands Pakistanis have been regularised, the highest number among the countries trying to regularise their nationals in KSA in the face of change in the visa policy.
Members of Pakistani mission in KSA are in contact with Pakistani detained in various detention centres, sources said adding that they have been detained in four detention centres. In A, there are hundred and three Pakistanis who are reportedly established nationals. In B, there are 2,238 Pakistanis, in C, 1626, in D, 384 Pakistanis and lastly in H, 41 Pakistanis are detained. In this, women along with children born in KSA without any evidence of their parenthood are detained. The system that is in place is: Travel Department hands over pictures to the Consulate after completion of investigation. The picture contains the prisoner number but not the barrack number. Consulate has established a permanent office at Tarheel Detention centre, which is staffed by 4-5 persons.
After receiving the pictures, the Consulate officials visit each barrack to identify a detainee and then get his form filled up along with their fingerprints for preparation of travel documents. These forms are sent to the Consulate where emergency passports are prepared within 24-48 hours. In case, the detainee has a copy of his NIC or number of NIC, the case is sent to NADRA office, Jeddah, for confirmation within 24 hours.
The Consulate hands over travel documents to Travel Department at Tarheel, which then plans travel of detainees on the Saudi Airlines.