Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Monday that Pakistan plans to raise the matter of Greek coast guard conduct with their government in the wake of the boat capsizing incident that drowned hundreds of passengers, including Pakistanis.
The minister’s comments came after Pakistani survivors of the ill-fated boat blamed Greek coastguards for the disaster, saying the ship was deliberately sunk and no rescue was provided. Meanwhile, it was also reported that Pakistanis were forced to the bottom of the vessel.
The minister said that the survivors of the incident had come forward to share their harrowing experiences, shedding light on the gravity of the situation.
“Investigation into human trafficking is currently underway,” the interior czar said, speaking during Geo News programme ‘Geo Pakistan’.
He added that the authorities aim to crack down on smugglers with the strictest legal measures.
Commenting on the worsening issue of human trafficking, the minister said the government would seek international collaboration to combat these traffickers.
“Often, the culprits settle cases by paying off the victims. Shockingly, it has been revealed that the accused were receiving amounts ranging from Rs20,00,000 to Rs25,00,000 per person,” he added.
Additionally, Sanaullah said, a committee has been established to tackle the issue of human trafficking, with a deadline of one week to complete their investigation and submit a comprehensive report.
Surprisingly, he added, human rights organisations have largely overlooked this critical issue, focusing on relatively minor concerns instead.
FIA to nab traffickers
A day earlier, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) formed teams in major cities, including Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Islamabad, to bring the human traffickers to justice, expanding the scope of its investigation into the boat tragedy.
The decision was made during a meeting held with FIA Director General Mohsin Hassan Butt at the agency’s headquarters in Islamabad, according to a statement issued by the FIA.
Authorities in Europe still have no clear idea how many people were aboard the boat when it sank — estimates range from 400 to over 700 — but hundreds likely came from Pakistan, and many from Azad Jammu Kashmir. As per foreign media reports, 80 people have died, and hundreds are still missing.
Chairing the meeting, the FIA DG directed to complete the investigations against the human traffickers in connection with the Greece shipwreck at the earliest.
“To prevent such incidents in the future, a meeting of the FIA’s inter-agency task force has also been called tomorrow in which an effective strategy will be chalked out,” read the statement.
Terming the human traffickers and their facilitators “international culprits”, the FIA DG directed to take action against the content relating to crossing the border illegally on social media.