GUJRAT: Six more bodies of victims of Libya boat wreck were brought to their native areas on Thursday.

Four of them belonged to Gujrat and two to Bhimbher district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The bodies were received by the heirs at the Lahore airport and then driven to their hometowns by ambulances.

Earlier, four bodies belonging to Gujrat and one each to Gujjar Khan town of Rawalpindi and Muridke town of Sheikhupura reached their destinations a couple of days ago.

The Federal Investigation Agency’s Gujrat circle has so far registered 10 cases against human traffickers involved in sending the victims illegally to Italy via Dubai and Libya. Four of them have been arrested.

The bodies of Husnain Mian of Gegian (Bareela Sharif), Hafiz Zain Ali of Bajo, Mudassar Iqbal of Kharian Khurd and Shaban Ali of Bhangranwala were driven to their natives areas in Gujrat district whereas the bodies of Muneeb and Ali Hasham of Barehng village of Bhimbher also reached their native locations.

Sources in the families of victims said that the bodies were flown to Lahore from Saudi Arabia.

Gujrat FIA deputy director Ghulam Sarwar Warraich told Dawn that traffickers Adnan of Kharian, Zahid Suniara of Gujrat, Raja Raheel of Kotla and Sufian Mazhar of Fatehpur had been arrested.

He said three of the suspects had been detained at FIA’s Gujrat lockup on physical remand whereas Zahid Suniara was sent to the district jail on judicial remand.

He said main traffickers Hamza of Gujrat city and Afaq of Mararrian village were settled somewhere abroad and efforts were on trace them.

Sources in the FIA said some of the cases were lodged on the complaints of the heirs while a few were registered on the complaint of an FIA official after their families declined to join legal proceedings against the human traffickers.

As per the cases lodged with the FIA, the human traffickers had reportedly received Rs 1.5mn to 2 million from each client.

Sources in families of victims said that most of the human traffickers had gone under ground and were not in their contact since the tragic incident occurred in Libya.

According to a Foreign Office briefing in Islamabad on Thursday, 15 Pakistanis had been confirmed dead.

The FO spokesperson said four deaths were confirmed in Italy while two were still missing.

“I will not combine them because these were two different boat incidents,” the spokesperson said.

“The Government of Pakistan and our embassies are in contact with the families and are in the process of transportation of bodies back to Pakistan. I have a list of 17 survivors in Rome, being held in a camp there. Our embassy is in contact with the Italian authorities for their repatriation.”

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2023

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