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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday criticised the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) failure to curb human trafficking in the country and urged the government to formulate policies to help put an end to the menace.

Justice Nisar was hearing a suo motu case regarding the killing of 20 labourers whose bullet-riddled bodies were found in the Turbat and Buleda tehsils of Balochistan's Kech district last year. The victims had been brought to the province by human traffickers with the intention of enabling them to cross the Pak-Iran border illegally.

The CJP expressed concern over widespread human smuggling networks in the country, saying that instead of the Supreme Court (SC) taking notice of the matter, law enforcement agencies should have tried to curb the problem themselves.

The Director General (DG) FIA Bashir Ahmed and secretaries of the Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry also appeared in court today.

The CJP was told by the FIA chief that an organised gang in some areas of Punjab, which include Gujrat, Lala Musa, Sirai Alamgir and Mandi Bahauddin etc., was involved in smuggling people out of the country.

"What steps can be taken to cure this cancer?" the CJP asked the DG FIA, observing that human trafficking had become a major issue for the country.

The court dismissed the DG FIA's response that the department lacked resources. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua also criticised the DG FIA and regretted that the agency was unable to curb human smuggling.

Justice Nisar observed that it was the government's responsibility to formulate a policy to put an end to human trafficking in the country. He noted the lack of coordination between government departments, and advised the Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry to prepare recommendations for the government to assist authorities in the matter.

The CJP further said that the court will issue orders to the Punjab government to build FIA offices in cities like Gujrat and Gujranwala.

The court summoned the advocate general Punjab to the next hearing of the case on Feb 12.