LAHORE/RAWALPINDI: The number of Pakistanis killed in a migrant boat wreck off the coast of Libya last week has risen to seven, the Foreign Office confirmed on Thursday, as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested three alleged traffickers responsible for sending migrants down the ill-fated route that culminated in a shipwreck off the coast of southern Italy.

At the weekly briefing in Islamabad, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told reporters that so far, seven Pakistani nationals had perished in the boat wreck near Benghazi.

The Pakistani mission in Libya is facilitating the identification of the bodies and transportation of the mortal remains to Pakistan, with the support of local authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross, she said. “The embassy and ministry of foreign affairs are also in contact with the families of the deceased,” Ms Baloch said.

Talking about the tragic wreck off the coast of Italy, she said that so far, authorities had confirmed that 17 Pakistanis were rescued, while two individuals were killed and two are still missing.

She said that the government was being cautious in making announcements as “it is difficult for authorities and especially our embassies to ascertain details about individuals who may not have their papers with them”.

“These tragic incidents take place when unscrupulous individuals try to take advantage of people who may be interested in traveling abroad for livelihood. The government of Pakistan is very cognizant of the situation and measures are being taken to address it,” she said.

FIA arrests

Meanwhile, in a statement on Thursday, FIA Punjab revealed that the three men in custody would take money from the families of those they illegally sent to Europe.

Three agents – Raja Raheel, Sufian and Mohammad Zahid Sanyara of Gujrat – would receive money from the families of those sent to Libya, said a statement issued on Thursday, adding that the amount received from them was transferred to the gang leader abroad.

The agency, it said, was working to track down all the agents involved in trafficking people to Libya from the Gujrat belt. “More arrests are expected in coming days,” the agency said.

According to the FIA, human smugglers usually charge a substantial amount from anyone aspiring to reach Turkey via the Balochistan-Iran-Turkiye land route.

“Anyone wishing to get to Europe from Turkiye has to pay after reaching Turkiye. In such cases, the family of the person being trafficked pays the promised amount once he gets to Turkiye,” an official told Dawn.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
17 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

THERE was a time not too long ago when the faces we see sitting in government today would cry themselves hoarse over...
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
17 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

IT is no secret that visa applications to the UK and Schengen countries come at a high cost. But recent published...
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...