As part of its Ramadan initiatives, the Pakistani community of the UAE came together to help compatriot prisoners languishing in Dubai jail.
Members of the welfare committee of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) recently met the officials concerned at the Dubai Central Jail in Al Awir and paid for air tickets and minor fines of around 100 Pakistani prisoners. The prisoners would be released before Eid Al Fitr so that they could fly back home to celerbate Eid with their families.
Elaborating on the prisoners’ release campaign, Rizwan Fancy, director – community welfare at PAD, told Khaleej Times: “The initiative is part of our annual Ramadan campaign ‘release a prisoner’, according to which we announced within our community that community members could donate Dh750 for each prisoner on an average. Last year, we managed to help release 76 prisoners and this year we aim to help release around 200 prisoners.”
He said that PAD does not help prisoners involved in criminal cases but only those serving sentences for minor offences such as working on wrong visa, being listed in absconding list. Help is extended to those who could be released after paying small fines and the prisoners who needed tickets to travel back home.
“Many of the inmates who received help have shown improvement in character and have involved themselves in activities such as memorising the Holy Quran or improving their recitation,” he said.
Also, inspired by the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, Fancy said the welfare committee is also looking to help women or needy people of other nationalities.
“The 100 prisoners – mostly men ¬- who will be released shortly is the first batch and we are now aiming to get 100 more prisoners released. Our first priority is Pakistanis, but after helping our compatriots, we will try help release some women prisoners of other nationalities, too,” he said.
He thanked the Pakistani community and members of the welfare committee for their generous support and also commended the efforts of the local Emirati community and local authorities in expediting the process.
Fancy said that the association is providing Iftars for almost 250 people every day at a mosque in the Pakistan Education Academy, in addition to managing a Ramadan fridge on the association’s premises.
The association, he said, will also be giving out Dh300 Ramadan food coupons to needy families.