By Editor National Security
Islamabad: Amid great efforts made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani prisoner detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, finally reunited with his family following his release from the US military prison after more than 18 years.
” He has arrived in Pakistan following release from Guantanamo Bay,” a press note issued from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Saturday.
According to detail, the 75-year-old Pakistani citizen who has been languishing in notorious US prison for years, was the oldest prisoner at Guantanamo Bay and was held on suspicion of ties to Al Qaeda but never charged with a crime. His release was approved in May last year after more than 16 years in custody at the US base in Cuba.
“The foreign ministry completed an extensive inter-agency process to facilitate the repatriation of Paracha. We are glad that a Pakistani citizen detained abroad is finally reunited with his family,” the FO statement said.
Separately, Foreign Minister Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari also tweeted about his release.
Paracha, who lived in the US and owned property in New York City, was a wealthy businessman in Pakistan, Dawn reported on Saturday.
The US captured Paracha in Thailand in 2003 and had detained him at Guantanamo since September 2004.
Authorities alleged he was an Al Qaeda “facilitator” who helped two of the conspirators in the September 11 plot with a financial transaction. But Paracha, who suffers from a number of ailments including diabetes and a heart condition, has denied his involvement in terrorism, saying he did not know the men he was dealing with were Al-Qaeda members.
However, the US has long asserted that it can hold detainees indefinitely without charge under the international laws of war.
Paracha’s son had also been arrested on the charge of helping suspected militants to get into the US through faulty documents months before his father’s arrest.
He was sentenced to 30 years in jail in 2005 by the federal court in New York, however, a judge threw out witness accounts in March 2020.
Uzair Paracha, a graduate from Pakistan’s prestigious Institute of Business Administration, was sent back to Pakistan in 2021 after the US government decided not to seek a new trial.