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Iran has handed over 19,000 Pakistanis arrested for crossing the border illegally during the ongoing year, a security official told DawnNews on Friday.

The Pakistani citizens had entered Iran through "less frequented routes" along the 900-kilometre border with the country in their bid to reach Greece and other European countries, a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official, who requested anonymity, told DawnNews.

The official said that most of the illegal immigrants had belonged to Mandi Bhauddin, Gujrat, Sialkot and other densely-populated areas of Punjab. However, he said, very few of them managed to make it to Europe as most were arrested soon after they entered Iran.

He also revealed that even though Iran had constructed a 64km wall to deter people from crossing the border illegally, human smugglers used routes in Mashkail, Mand-Bilo Turbat and Panjgoor to enter the neighbouring country.

He said that FIA had set up a team comprising five senior officials to take action against immigrants who illegally tried to sneak into Iran after Levies officials found 15 bullet-riddled bodies in Kech earlier this week.

The victims had been seeking a way to enter Iran in order to leave for Europe in order to find jobs.