Pakistan has suspended all prisoner exchange agreements with other countries after it discovered that prisoners repatriated from Britain were set free by corrupt officials without completing their sentences, the interior minister said Monday.
Authorities have arrested an interior ministry official and a police officer after investigating a complaint by British authorities that three convicts sent to Pakistan in 2010 to serve out their prison terms ranging from 18 to 25 years for drug trafficking and murder were released within two months.
“We investigated and found out that two prisoners were set free in two months and the third one spent just one day in jail,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a parliamentary committee. He said one of the convicts had fled to Dubai while another went to Malaysia and from there to Ecuador, but both had since been arrested and were being repatriated to Pakistan. The third had been arrested in Pakistan.
Khan said that during their own investigations Pakistani authorities found a fourth prisoner who had similarly evaded a sentence two and half years ago and had since rearrested him. “We have suspended implementation of all prisoner exchange agreements with various countries till formulation of a transparent policy,” Khan said.
The identities of the convicts were not revealed.
“We will show the world that Pakistan is a responsible country and we will not spare anybody involved in corruption,” he added. The officials who were involved in the illegal release of prisoners had been in prison for the past nine months, he added. It was unclear why the scandal had not come to light previously.