The Foreign Office announced on Saturday that Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani national who spent over two decades being held in the US military prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, had come home.
After spending the previous 18 years in custody, Paracha, who was reportedly the oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, has now arrived in Pakistan.
In a handout sent by the foreign ministry, it was said, “We are delighted that a Pakistani citizen detained abroad has now been reunited with his family.”
According to the statement, the ministry completed a lengthy interagency process for the repatriation of Paracha.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto also tweeted the news.
In 2003, Paracha was detained in Bangkok when it was discovered that he had contact with al Qaeda. He was brought to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan before being taken to Guantanamo Bay. The charges made against Paracha were never proven.
The 75-year-old businessman from Karachi who resided in the US was charged with providing financial support for the 9/11 mission and al-Qaeda.
The US government grants Paracha’s release in 2021 after his son, who was also detained by US authorities for allegedly helping suspected militants in entering the country, was released in 2020.
In 2021, his son—who had graduated from the Institute of Business Administration—came back to Pakistan. In 2005, he received a 30-year prison term; however, in 2018, the conviction was overturned.
The FBI arrested Paracha at the airport in Bangkok, where he had gone to see an American business partner. He was also charged with smuggling explosives into the US.