Pakistan to raise coast guard behaviour with Greece

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Men transfer body bags carrying migrants who died after their boat capsized in the open sea off Greece, onboard a Hellenic Coast Guard vessel at the port of Kalamata, Greece, June 14, 2023. — Reuters
Men transfer body bags carrying migrants who died after their boat capsized in the open sea off Greece, onboard a Hellenic Coast Guard vessel at the port of Kalamata, Greece, June 14, 2023. — Reuters
  • Govt’s plan comes after hearing survivor accounts.
  • Sanaullah says probe against human traffickers underway.
  • As per foreign media, 80 people have died in the incident.

Days after the tragic boat capsizing incident near Greece’s coast claimed the lives of hundreds of people, including Pakistanis, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Pakistan plans to take up the conduct of the Greek coast guard with their government.

The government’s plan comes as a result of horrifying accounts of Pakistani survivors on the ill-fated boat, who said the ship was deliberately sunk and no rescue was provided. Reports in foreign media also revealed that Pakistanis were forced to the bottom of the trawler.

The interior minister added that the remaining Pakistani passengers, who survived the incident, shared their distressing experiences and highlighted the situation’s gravity.

“Investigation into human trafficking is currently underway,” Sanaullah 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 take down 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.

The meeting was told the 83 residents of Punjab were still missing in the tragic incident.



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