DesPardes + PKonweb

Malaysia Releases Over 300 Pakistani Prisoners Before Eid, PIA Flight Uses China Airspace

PKONWEB Report — More than 300 Pakistani prisoners in Malysia will fly back home by May 29 — just in time for the Eid celebration — confirmed the Malaysian Immigration Department (MID).

Pakistan on Tuesday said it had designated a special aircraft to bring home the 320 nationals languishing in various jails across Malaysia, as part of an initiative undertaken by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A PIA Boeing 777-aircraft departed from Islamabad at 2:46 AM PST early Wednesday morning May 29 to Kuala Lumpur. Apparently the B777 is going to use Chinese airspace for the flight due to ongoing standoff with India.

The move will see them return on a chartered Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 777 flight on Wednesday, in time to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their families, a statement released by the Foreign Office said.

“There are more than 320 Pakistani nationals in Malaysian jails who have completed their sentence and were unable to be repatriated, as direct flights got suspended in the last week of February 2019, owing to the regional situation,” the statement read.

It added that a majority of the nationals had been imprisoned “due to expiry of visa or residence permits.”

“The program is an initiative by the Pakistani government which intends to hasten the process to send back their citizens, especially the prisoners who are unable to purchase their own ticket,” Dato’ Indera Kairul Dzaimee bin Daud, director of the Malaysian Immigration Department (MID) told Arab News.

Meanwhile, the MID confirmed that there are more than 300 Pakistanis detained in immigration and detention centers across Malaysia whose travel expenses will be covered by the Pakistani government.

“All the Pakistani (prisoners) will be sent back via airplanes that are specially rented by the government of Pakistan,” he said, adding that the Malaysian immigration agency will oversee the safe repatriation of the prisoners from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

In comments to the media last Thursday, Zulfi Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, said that information pertaining to the matter was made available to the Pakistani government, which prompted PM Khan to take immediate action and direct “the Bait-ul-Mal and Foreign Office to release $577,000 and $145,000 respectively” for the purpose.

Malaysia and Pakistan have enjoyed an amicable relationship for decades. However, the relationship and cooperation between the two Muslim-majority countries has further strengthened with the new government of Malaysia installed last year under Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad, and the high-profile visit by PM Khan to Malaysia in November last year.