Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urged Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to allow a terminally ill Zulfiqar Ali, a Pakistani prisoner being held by Indonesia, to return to his home country on humanitarian grounds, a Foreign Office (FO) press release said on Saturday.
Ali was diagnosed with cancer earlier this month and according to his doctors, has three months to live. He has been a prisoner in Indonesia since 2004 on drug charges.
According to the Anti Death Penalty Asia Network, Ali was sentenced to death after a forced confession and an unfair trial. Later, on intervention from former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the execution was stayed.
President Widodo was visiting the premier at the Prime Minister House on the second day of his two-day trip to Pakistan. On his arrival to the PM House, he was presented with a guard of honour.
During their meeting, PM Abbasi and President Widodo said that the “brotherly relations” between the two countries must be strengthened through cooperation on matters of mutual interest including defence and trade.
Talking about regional security, the two leaders agreed that an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” is vital for peace in the area. PM Abbasi also appreciated Indonesia’s “desire to assist Afghanistan in [gaining] peace” and briefed him about Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts to achieve peace in the area.
PM Abbasi and President Widodo talked about increasing bilateral trade, saying that though imports and exports between the two countries had crossed the $2 billion mark in the past three years, there was “considerable untapped potential” that can be unlocked by taking advantage of preferential trade agreements.
Widodo also welcomed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project and other “mega infrastructural projects” that would “offer vast opportunities” and “enhance regional connectivity”. Both leaders agreed to extend support to each other at regional forums like Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
Indonesia’s President Widodo and his wife Iriana Widodo had arrived in Islamabad a day earlier and were welcomed by his Pakistani counterpart President Mamnoon Hussain.
Addressing a joint session of the Parliament, he had called for a firm commitment to democracy terming it “the only way to serve interests of the people”.