Eleven Pakistani workers who were kidnapped in Iraq this month have been freed.
Mohammed Naeem Khan said the men, who worked for a Kuwaiti company, were kidnapped near the southern city of Nasiriyah on Aug. 13 as they were traveling to Baghdad from Kuwait by bus.
He did not specify their professions or what work the company, al-Hamra, did in Iraq - or whether any ransom was paid for their release.
"We have just been informed by the Kuwaiti company that all 11 Pakistanis have been freed. Thanks be to God," Khan told a weekly news briefing in the capital Islamabad. "They will return to Kuwait within the next 24 hours."
He said they staying for now in Basra.
It was at least the fifth reported incident in which Pakistani nationals have been abducted in Iraq. In April, a Pakistani Embassy official was kidnapped and later freed. In July 2004, a Pakistani engineer and a driver were abducted and killed.
Khan renewed a call for Pakistanis not to go to Iraq.
"The situation in Iraq is precarious ... We had advised that Pakistanis should not travel to Iraq at this stage because of the security situation," he was quoted by the AP as saying, adding that the government was constantly monitoring the situation.