ISLAMABAD: Forty-three Pakistani prisoners jailed in Sri Lanka on various charges, including drug trafficking, returned to Pakistan early on Wednesday morning, Pakistan’s high commission in Colombo said.
Ambassador Major General (retired) Muhammad Saad Khattak saw the prisoners off at the airport, a statement from his office said, from where they took a PIA flight home.
Addressing the returning Pakistanis in the departure lounge of Bandranayake International Airport in Colombo, Khattak “advised them to refrain from such crimes in the future so as to lead a better life with their loved ones once they reach Pakistan.”
“The prisoners were very happy to go back to Pakistan and committed to lead a healthy and productive life once they were out of the prison,” the statement added.
Many of the Pakistanis were reportedly detained on drug trafficking-related charges.
Last year in December, during Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka had sought Pakistan’s assistance in its fight against drug trafficking.
Colombo is a growing hub for international drug trafficking. While Sri Lanka does not appear to be a final destination for many of the drugs transiting the country, drug abuse has spiked in recent years, prompting the government to launch ambitious measures.