Two More Traffickers Detained In Connection With Greece Shipwreck

- News - June 21, 2023
Greece-shipwreck-Sanaullah-says-probe-to-be-completed-within-a-week-as-two-more-traffickers-arrested
Greece-shipwreck-Sanaullah-says-probe-to-be-completed-within-a-week-as-two-more-traffickers-arrested

Two More Traffickers Detained In Connection With Greece Shipwreck

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced that the investigation into the Greece boat tragedy would be concluded within a week, as two more alleged traffickers involved in human smuggling were arrested. The tragedy occurred last week when a fishing trawler en route to Italy, carrying at least 800 people, including hundreds of Pakistanis, capsized off the coast of Greece. Only 104 of the passengers are known to have survived, and the chance of finding more survivors was seen as almost nil. The death toll has reached 81, with three more bodies recently discovered.

As the news of the tragedy unfolded, Pakistan observed a day of mourning on Monday, and the Interior Ministry promised to pass special legislation to prosecute those involved in human smuggling, while the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) cracked down on traffickers across the country.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, the interior minister formed a committee to investigate the incident and promised strict action against human traffickers. The committee will present its report within a week, after which further action will be taken by the federal government. The panel will investigate the Greece boat tragedy, identify loopholes and lapses in Pakistan’s legal mechanism, and review short-term and long-term legislation to curb the issue.

In a separate statement, an FIA spokesperson said that the agency’s Anti-Human Trafficking Circle in Gujranwala had apprehended an “agent” involved in the boat tragedy. The captured suspect, identified as Azmat Ali, had received a sum of Rs1.7 million for facilitating the victims’ illegal journey to Europe, and a case has been registered against him. Further investigation is underway, and raids are being conducted to arrest other suspects.

Punjab police announced

The Punjab police announced that a “key suspect” involved in the Greece shipwreck had been arrested. “Mumtaz Arain was taken into custody from Vehari and has been handed over to the FIA for further questioning,” a police spokesperson said, adding that the suspect’s mobile data, documents, and other important evidence were also seized during the operation.

Meanwhile, the seventh meeting of the FIA’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) was held at the agency’s headquarters, where the officials expressed regret over the loss of life in the shipwreck and discussed ways to prevent human trafficking. The FIA Director General emphasized developing a central database of agents and human traffickers, spreading awareness to prevent human trafficking, and launching an awareness campaign on electronic and social media. The press release noted that the FIA would take special steps to train officers of other agencies regarding human trafficking and work with international organizations to prevent the menace.

Turkey’s President

Lastly, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extended his condolences to the bereaved families on behalf of the Turkish government and people during a telephone conversation with PM Shehbaz. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also held a “useful conversation” with his Greek counterpart on the shipwreck tragedy and agreed to work together closely to facilitate Pakistanis in distress and for the identification and repatriation of retrieved bodies.

Last week’s tragic boat sinking off the coast of Greece has left hundreds of families in Pakistan in a state of uncertainty, as at least 50 people who had left for Europe with the help of traffickers are still missing. The families of the missing victims are unsure whether their loved ones were on the ill-fated boat or in some camp in Libya waiting for the voyage toward Europe. Efforts are underway to identify the bodies of Pakistanis through DNA testing, but complications arise due to the presence of illegal immigrants in camps of human traffickers in Libya and because these immigrants often travel without any identity documents. The FIA says that it may take weeks to trace and confirm the identity of the missing victims.

human smuggling

The tragedy has prompted Pakistan to take several measures to address the issue of human smuggling. The Interior Ministry has promised to pass special legislation to prosecute those involved in human smuggling, while the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has cracked down on traffickers across the country. The FIA is conducting raids to arrest suspects involved in the Greece boat tragedy and has apprehended several alleged traffickers.

The FIA’s Anti-Human Trafficking Circle in Gujranwala recently arrested an “agent” involved in the boat tragedy. The captured suspect, identified as Azmat Ali, had facilitated the victims’ illegal journey to Europe and had received a sum of Rs1.7 million for doing so. The agency has registered a case against him, and further investigation is underway.

Punjab police

The Punjab police also announced that a “key suspect” involved in the Greece shipwreck had been arrested. The police spokesperson said that Mumtaz Arain was taken into custody from Vehari and has been handed over to the FIA for further questioning. The suspect’s mobile data, documents, and other important evidence were also seized during the operation.

FIA’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)

The FIA’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) held its seventh meeting at the agency’s headquarters to discuss ways to prevent human trafficking. The officials expressed regret over the loss of life in the shipwreck and emphasized the need to develop a central database of agents and human traffickers, spread awareness to prevent human trafficking, and launch an awareness campaign on electronic and social media. They also agreed to take special steps to train officers of other agencies regarding human trafficking and work with international organizations to prevent the menace.

The meeting’s participants also discussed introducing a modern system for the movement of citizens at the border, taking strict action against unregistered employment promoters, and providing records of unregistered agents. They emphasized using effective strategies for sharing information and intelligence-based operations to prevent the factors involved in the promotion of human trafficking.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extended his condolences to the bereaved families on behalf of the Turkish government and people during a telephonic conversation with PM Shehbaz. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also had a “useful conversation” with his Greek counterpart on the shipwreck tragedy and agreed to work together closely to facilitate Pakistanis in distress and for the identification and repatriation of retrieved bodies.

In conclusion, the Greece boat tragedy has highlighted the need for Pakistan to take strong measures to curb the issue of human smuggling. The government’s promise to pass special legislation and the FIA’s crackdown on traffickers across the country are positive steps in this direction. The tragedy has also emphasized the need to spread awareness about the dangers of human trafficking and to develop a central database of agents and human traffickers. With the cooperation of institutions and international organizations, ending this heinous crime is possible.