ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal confirmed death of 32 Pakistanis who were aboard a boat that sank near Libya last week.

On Sunday, the spokesman said that information regarding the deceased Pakistanis was provided by a rescued sur­vivor to the Pakistani mission in Libya.

Mr Faisal quoted the survivor as saying: “I, along with 32 other Pakistanis, was brought to the boat that was waiting in the deep sea off the coast of Zuwara.”

Most of the deceased hailed from Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin districts

The spokesman said that a family of four was also on the boat, of which the bodies of the husband and wife had been recovered while their two children, aged four and two months, were still missing.

He added that 13 bodies of Pakistani nationals, identified with the help of their passports and the rescued eyewitness, had been recovered.

“The tragic incident took place on the night of Jan 31, according to the survivor who came in contact with the Pakistani Embassy in Libya,” he said.

According to media reports, 90 migrants were feared dead in the incident. For years, Libya has been a major transit route for migrants trying to reach European countries by sea.

On Saturday, the FO informed to the media that 16 Pakistanis had drowned in the incident and provided a list of their names. Most of deceased belonged to Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin in Punjab.

The deceased were identified as Muhammad Ismael, his wife Azmat Bibi and their son Saad Ali, Luqman Ali, Rehmat Khan, Kamran Iqbal, Zabiullah, Hamza Farooq of Gujrat, Ikramul Haq, Muhammad Qasim, Muhammad Farhan and Muhammad Tanzeel of Mandi Bahauddin, Mirza Ghulam Fareed, Waleed and Shah.

Earlier, the FO spokesman said that the boat, which was in a bad shape, was supposed to transport the illegal migrants to Europe. The survivor was rescued by a fisherman. “The recovered bodies have been preserved and will be sent to Pakistan in a process which could take up to seven days,” the spokesperson added.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2018

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