Cricket legend turned Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan has stepped in with financial assistance to ensure that 315 of his countrymen will make it back home in time for the Hari Raya holidays after worries that they would be unable to afford travel back.
According to reports in Gulf News, RM1.3 million (US$310,000) in aid via the Foreign Office and zakat (Islamic charitable donations) fund will be used to help pay for the cost of airfare for the hundreds of detainees currently in Malaysian detention.
“The government will bear all the expenses to be incurred on their repatriation,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari told media last week.
“Thanks to the Almighty, 315 Pakistani prisoners, who could not afford to buy air tickets, will be spending Eid-Al-Fitr (Hari Raya) with their families in Pakistan,” he said.
Politicians were quick to say that it was PM Khan’s call for swift action in the matter that brought about the happy ending.
A Boeing 777 from Pakistan International Airlines is expected to bring the detainees home, with a deal having been brokered between Islamabad and the country’s national flag carrier at a favorable rate after negotiations from the PM’s office.
Senior officials in the country’s Overseas Ministry have said that they have asked their Kuala Lumpur counterparts for legal relief for their countrymen going through the Malaysian court system, as part of a bigger policy to “bring back” Pakistanis who are stuck in foreign jails.