RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered the release of all Pakistani prisoners held by the police for “insulting” a government delegation from Pakistan at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah earlier this year, said a statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency on Wednesday.
“King Salman has authorized the pardon and release of six Pakistani nationals who were arrested during Ramadan after they attacked a Pakistani woman and her companions with offensive words in the courtyard of the Prophet’s Mosque,” the statement on SPA said.
It added that the move was in response to a request by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to pardon them.
The Kingdom’s police arrested at least five Pakistani nationals in April for “abusing and insulting” federal ministers of information and narcotics control, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Shahzain Bugti, in the courtyard of the mosque, said the prime minister’s office in Islamabad.
The act was allegedly performed by the supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party who loudly chanted slogans against the two ministers and were later arrested for violating “the sanctity of the place” and putting “the safety of visitors and worshipers” in jeopardy.
“Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, has announced a big decision for Pakistanis imprisoned in Saudi Arabia,” said the official statement. “He has ordered the release of all Pakistanis imprisoned in the Masjid-e-Nabawi sloganeering incident.”
The statement added the decision was announced after the Pakistani prime minister requested the Saudi crown prince to release all those Pakistani nationals who were arrested in the wake of the incident.
“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had requested Prince Mohammed bin Salman to forgive [the prisoners],” the PM Office said.
It added that Sharif thanked the crown prince for making the announcement.