Protecting the Rights of Foreign Nationals Imprisoned in Pakistan

Date.25 Apr, 2024

The Government of Pakistan has an obligation, under  international law and the Constitution of Pakistan, to protect the  fundamental rights of foreign nationals imprisoned in Pakistan. As of April 2024, there are 1,107 foreign nationals incarcerated across Pakistan’s prisons.[1]


A number of foreign nationals imprisoned in Pakistan lack access to adequate legal representation, translators, and consular assistance from their diplomatic missions, leaving them at the mercy of local courts.These foreign nationals constitute a highly vulnerable segment of Pakistan’s prison population and endure harsher penalties owing to their unfamiliarity with and lack of support in navigating Pakistan’s legal system. They struggle to communicate directly with the courts and are unable to produce evidence from their home countries in their defence.


Given these circumstances, it is crucial to establish and enforce a comprehensive consular access policy that safeguards the fundamental human rights of foreign nationals in Pakistan’s prisons, in light of their overlapping. Furthermore, the Government of Pakistan should actively pursue prisoner transfer agreements with other countries, enabling foreign nationals to serve their sentences in their respective home countries.

[1] Primary data collected from provincial prisons departments.

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