The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Sunday said it had arrested one of the two main human traffickers in connection with the Greece and Libya shipwreck tragedies.
Last month, an Italy-bound fishing trawler reportedly carrying at least 800 people — including approximately 350 Pakistanis — capsized off Greece. The incident led to a day of mourning along with the launch of a nationwide crackdown on human smugglers with many subsequently arrested.
Separately, there have been two other notable incidents of boats drowning off the coast of Libya in the Mediterranean Sea this year in which several Pakistanis — among others — had lost their lives. The first incident took place in February and the other in April, but the authorities did not specify in which case the latest arrest was made.
According to a statement from the FIA spokesperson issued today, Mohammad Saleem Saniyare — a key figure in the Greek tragedy — was arrested in Gujrat in a major operation by the watchdog’s local team.
The statement added that he was the brother of the main suspect — Asif Saniyare — who is still at large. It further said that Saleem took millions of rupees from the people to illegally send them to Europe and there were already nine cases registered against him at the FIA’s Gujrat branch.
The FIA said Saleem sent money to his brother through Hundi/Hawala and had gone into hiding after the Greek tragedy, adding that he was arrested through the use of modern technology and further investigation was under way.
The watchdog said Asif was present in Libya currently and had various safehouses there.
A separate tweet from the FIA said that Mohammad Saleem was also a central figure in the Libya shipwreck, without specifying whether it was the February or April incident.
On Monday, the FIA had decided to blacklist the passports of the suspected human traffickers involved in the Greek shipwreck incident and charge them under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
FIA Director General Mohsin Hasan Butt had also ordered that the identity cards and bank accounts of the agents involved in the accident should be immediately blocked