The Federal Investigation Agency arrested on Sunday eight suspects from across the country allegedly involved in smuggling the victims of the Greece boat tragedy.
Last week, an Italy-bound fishing trawler reportedly carrying at least 800 people — including approximately 300 Pakistanis — capsized off Greece. Only 104 people are known to have survived and the chance of finding more survivors was seen as virtually nil.
The incident led to a day of mourning along with a nationwide crackdown initiated by the government on human smugglers.
On Friday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said 82 deceased Pakistani victims had been recovered while amendments to laws were under consideration to ensure that those involved in human trafficking and employing illicit means to send people abroad would face appropriate punishment.
In a statement issued today, an FIA spokesperson said six human smugglers were arrested for facilitating the illegal journey of the Greece boat tragedy victims and five cases were registered against them.
The suspects, he said, were nabbed from Kallar Syedan, Jhang, and Peshawar. “They received millions of rupees in return for illegally sending people to Europe.”
The FIA identified the smugglers as Tanveer Ahmed, Muhammad Yousuf, Junaid Mehmood, Muhammad Islam, Haider Ali, and Durran Khan. “They sent people to Libya and then off to Europe,” the agency added.
The spokesperson added that an inquiry against the men was initiated after identification by the victims’ families.
Another statement issued by the FIA later in the day said that two more suspects, Imran and Muhammad Yahya, were arrested from Sialkot and Gujranwala, respectively.
It stated the men sent the victims to Europe via Iran and Turkey and took Rs850,000 for facilitating the illegal journeys. “Cases have been registered against them,” the FIA added.
Earlier, FIA Deputy Director Rana Shahid Habib formed raid teams in major cities for intelligence-based investigations to arrest human smugglers. He said the teams were constantly in touch with the aggrieved families.
“We are using all our resources to arrest those involved in trafficking and will bring them to justice,” Habib vowed.