“The majority of prisoners are convicted for minor crimes like theft, robbery, violations of telecommunication law, violations of labour law and diesel smuggling,” said a senior official from the embassy. “Such prisoners serve jail terms that usually range from six months to five years.”
He said the number of prisoners convicted for major crimes like murder, rape and drug trafficking is not very high. “Currently there are around three to four prisoners convicted for murder, one for rape, and between 20 to 30 are convicted for drug trafficking.”
A majority of the prisoners are serving sentences in the Samail Central Prison. “The head of mission at the embassy visits the prison once in two to three months after approval has been received from the host government.”
He said that from the visits, it can be confidently said that the prisoners do not face any problem. “There is no physical torture or abuse, medical facilities are adequate and basic needs are well taken care of.”
On the menace of drug trafficking and related offences, the official added, “We have convicted several people for drug trafficking, but I would like to mention that drug trafficking is a regional issue. The drugs are mostly smuggled from countries like UAE and Yemen.”
“In the past two to three years, the number of Pakistani criminals has shown a downward trend, primarily due to strict ROP vigilance.”
Meanwhile, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said recently pardoned 27 Pakistani prisoners. “They were convicted for minor crimes and had served their sentences, with only a month or less remaining,” the embassy official added.