ISLAMABAD - Emotional scenes of family reunion were witnessed at New Islamabad International Airport when 320 Pakistani prisoners, recently released by Malaysia, arrived here late Wednesday night.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayyed Zulfikar Bukhari, who pursued the prisoners’ case in the federal cabinet, received the prisoners at the airport. Families of the prisoners appreciated efforts of the PM’s assistant for bringing their loved ones back home.

Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal Chairman Aoun Abbas, Parliamentary Secretary for Overseas Pakistanis Javeria Aheer and officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Overseas Pakistanis Foundation were also present on the occasion. The arrival lobby echoed with Pakistan Zindabad slogans chanted by the released prisoners, expressing gratitude to the incumbent government for the remarkable initiative.

Talking to media, Zulfikar Bukhari said that more prisoners were coming from various countries including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in coming days as the foreign missions and community welfare attaches were in constant contact with the quarters concerned for their early return to the homeland.

He said that unlike previous regimes, this was the first government which pleaded the case of Pakistani prisoners languishing in foreign jails effectively.

Bukhari said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed every institution to resolve issue of Pakistani Diaspora on priority, terming them the asset of the country.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the voices of Pakistanis expatriates would not go unheard, adding this move had showed that Pakistan now gave ownership to its every national including local and overseas, he said.

To a query, he said that the government was increasing the number of community welfare attaches abroad and had introduce the mechanism for monitoring their performance to ensure quick redressal of their grievances as well as smooth contact between government and expatriates as working abroad for the welfare of the country.

He also urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open the airspace for Pakistanis which was closed during the standoff between the two countries in February.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that Pakistani Diaspora, who left their homeland and families to serve their country, were very close to the heart of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

They would spend their Eid with their families only because of Prime Minister Imran Khan who was a leader in true sense unlike the previous ones, he added.

Rashid from Multan, who spent some 4 years in Malaysian jail, said that the prime minister had won their hearts by taking prompt action. He said that he could not narrate his ordeal as the prisoners were not treated in good manners in foreign jails.

“There is nothing better than freedom in this world which I feel today by entering in my country,” he said and broke into tears.

Faizan Tareen from Multan said that he might have lost his life in jail if the government would not have taken this step, pointing out that the life in foreign jail was literally a hell.

Razak Khan, who came to receive his son at the airport, said that he did not have the words to thank the government for bringing his son back before Eid, adding, “I was waiting to see my son in this life and appreciates Prime Minister Imran Khan for thinking of downtrodden segments of Pakistan.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to arrange a flight to Kuala Lumpur via China as India had closed its airspace for Pakistan.