A Pakistani Foreign Ministry official, Mohammed Naeem Khan, said the men, who worked for a Kuwaiti company, were captured near the southern city of al-Nasiriya on 13 August as they were travelling 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 on Monday.
 
"They will return to Kuwait within the next 24 hours."

He said they were staying in Basra for now.
 
Travel advisory

It was at least the fifth reported incident in which Pakistani nationals had been abducted in Iraq.

In April, a Pakistani embassy official was captured 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 said, adding that the government was constantly monitoring the situation.