DUBAI - Nearly 300 Pakistani prisoners held captive in the capital will be transferred to prisons back home in coming weeks, the Pakistan Embassy says.
Only those serving time for minor offences are eligible for the transfer.
The expenses for the transfer and air travel will be met by Pakistan, he said, while the UAE will cover costs incurred here. "Arrangements are currently being finalised," said the spokesman.
"Once done, especially the necessary arrangements in Pakistani jails to absorb the additional number of prisoners, the process is expected to commence shortly."
Abu Dhabi prison officials could not be reached to confirm the news.
The Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement between the UAE and Pakistan was signed in February and with India in November last year.
According to the Pakistan Embassy there are between 1,200 and 1,400 Pakistanis serving sentences in jails across the UAE. About 800 prisoners from Pakistan would be eligible to leave under the agreement.
The Indian Embassy said there had been no further updates since the ratification of their agreement in December.
Indian officials believe up to 1,200 nationals are in prisons for a range of offences including murder, drugs and petty crimes, including drinking and selling alcohol.
The treaty allows for prisoners convicted of minor offences to volunteer to complete their terms in their home countries. Those serving time for drug crimes, murder and financial crimes are not eligible.
Speaking to The National in December Jamil Ahmed Khan, Pakistan's Ambassador to the UAE said the thinking behind the agreement was to allow for the prisoners to be closer their families. "I'll send them to prisons nearer their native towns so they can have access to their families," he said.
Indian authorities had earlier said the transfer process could take as long as nine months as it depended on the willingness of individual state governments in India to take them back.