Indonesia’s president vows to ‘look into’ the return of terminally ill Pakistani prisoner


President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday took up the matter of Zulfiqar Ali, a Pakistani citizen imprisoned in an Indonesian jail, with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who vowed to “look into it on humanitarian grounds”.

During his meeting with the Indonesian president, Hussain asked his counterpart to consider the matter on humanitarian grounds, read a statement released by the President House.

In response, the Indonesian president said that although it was a legal matter, he would look into it on humanitarian grounds.

Ali, behind whom the country rallied in 2016, is on death row in Indonesia and has been diagnosed with stage-4 terminal cancer.

The father of five was deta­ined for nearly 14 years for a wrongful conviction; he may die in prison while waiting to be executed.

His attending physician confirmed that Ali was suffering from stage-4 liver cancer and had been given three months to live. He is also suffering from chronic liver cirrhosis and Diabetes Mellitus.

Earlier in the week while talking to Dawn over the phone, the 52-year-old said that his wife was staying with him in the prison hospital to look after him. “They can’t treat me here…it is a prison hospital…the doctors are here to monitor me but I have to go to private hospitals for treatment and it’s very expensive here. I just want to go home,” he said.

The cost of treatment in Indonesia, where prisoners are expected to pay themselves, is too high for Ali to bear. His medical bills have cost him over $37,000, part of which has been paid by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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