Afzal: A Pakistani on the death row in Saudi Arabia

Afzal used to work at a textile mill

Razia narrates the story of her life since her husband went to Saudi Arabia. Muhammad Afzal used to work at a textile mill. Once he was told by Muhammad Arshad that he could change his days for better by going to Saudi Arabia. He was told that there are better job opportunities there. Moreover, Arshad claimed to be an overseas employment agent and would readily help Afzal in all the tasks.

Happy over the unrealistic future dreams, Afzal decided to leave for Saudi Arabia. He went there are had no contact with his family. After four months, he called Razia informing her that he was in jail and was charged for drug trafficking. Recommended: The story of Beenish whose parents were executed in Saudi Arabia

Afzal has been sentenced to death

It has been 10 years since Afzal is in Saudi Arabia. He was given a death sentence over drug trafficking on the 24th of April 2009. Afzal tends to call every day and inform that he is still alive. The days he does not call haunts the family with the fear that he has been executed.

5172 Afzal - A Pakistani on the death row in Saudi Arabia

What went wrong with Afzal?

According to the documents, Afzal paid the required cash to Arshad. His passport and visa were processed and he was taken to Mardan by Arshad. He was then given an injection which made him drowsy and weak. He was them forced to swallow capsules full of heroin. He was starved for three days: there was no escape as the building was being guarded.

He was dropped at the airport and as soon as he landed to Saudi Arabia, he was jailed.

The family of Afzal

Razia is now living is a simple brick house with her brother. All she had has been sold out to meet the ends. She narrates that she had a few months old son who fell extremely sick as soon as Afzal went off for Saudi Arabia.

She sold her gold to her sewing machine to save his life but failed to do so. The only precious thing that she has now is memories.

She says, she fears execution of Afzal as more and more Pakistanis are being executed these days.  She pointed out issues that the Pakistani prisoners are facing in Saudi prisons: the language gap is the biggest one.

The problems faced by prisoners in Saudi Jails

No one rightfully understands their part of the story and whatever misinterpretation is done of their statement, they have to sign it making the case even more complicated to handle. Also, most prisoners like Arshad are uneducated which means that they cannot even speak basic English to convey their story.

She says that most of the prisoners are innocent. They have been exploited at the hands of fake oversea employment agencies. Their poverty and illiteracy make them easy prey. Recommended: Saudi Crown Prince orders to release 2100 Pakistani prisoners immediately

Most of the Pakistani drug traffickers are innocent

Saudi Authorities themselves decide when to execute the prisoner and do not even inform the family.  Ramzan, who is a brother of another prisoner Liaquat Ali, says that Ali was lured and was taken to Saudi Arabia. He was too starved for days and was forced to swallow drugs. He is now in prison. They even went forth hiring a lawyer and filing a case. Nothing positive has come out of it.

Razai said she even said a visit to PM office as Afzal said that prisoners get out once their governments get involved.  We hope innocent people like Afzal return their home safe and sound!

Source: Dawn

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