In a solemn commemoration, the nation of Pakistan observed a day of mourning on Monday in remembrance of the victims of the devastating boat tragedy that occurred off the coast of Greece. As the country grieved, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) announced the formation of dedicated teams across major cities to apprehend the perpetrators involved in human trafficking.
The ill-fated incident involved an overloaded boat carrying an estimated 750 individuals, according to a European rescue support charity. Tragically, more than 100 people lost their lives in the shipwreck, while hundreds remain missing.
Preliminary information from survivors indicated that the vessel carried approximately 400 Pakistanis, 200 Egyptians, and 150 Syrians, including women and young children. However, authorities have yet to confirm the exact number of Pakistani passengers on board.
The Foreign Office disclosed on Saturday that 12 Pakistanis had been found alive, prompting National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to call for an immediate investigation into the incident.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif subsequently declared a day of mourning, with the national flag lowered to half-mast. He also established a four-member committee to delve into the details of the tragedy and directed law enforcement agencies to track down those involved in human smuggling.
At the FIA headquarters in Islamabad, Director General Mohsin Hassan Butt chaired a meeting on Monday, where a report on the Greece shipwreck was presented. The report highlighted that three inquiries had been initiated to investigate the incident, leading to the registration of six cases.
The FIA spokesperson confirmed that more than 20 human smugglers had been named in the first information reports, and over five traffickers had already been apprehended in cities such as Gujrat, Gujranwala, and Lahore.
Director General Butt emphasized that human smugglers should face no leniency, emphasizing that they were international criminals and their facilitators should also be held accountable. He also issued directives to take strict action against individuals promoting content related to illegal border crossings on social media.
To prevent similar incidents in the future, the FIA announced the convening of an inter-agency task force meeting, where a comprehensive strategy will be devised.
Furthermore, special teams have been established in Islamabad, Lahore, Gujrat, Gujranwala, and Rawalpindi to swiftly apprehend the suspects involved in the illicit human trafficking trade.
In a significant development, the FIA’s Anti-Human Trafficking Circle in Gujrat apprehended a key suspect, identified as Waqas Ahmed, who was allegedly involved in the boat tragedy. Ahmed, from Wazirabad, was found to have accepted a significant sum of money from individuals in exchange for facilitating their illegal journey to Greece.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) released a press statement, urging the state to take responsibility for its role in the Greece boat tragedy. The HRCP emphasized the need for improved coordination among law enforcement agencies to combat human trafficking and called for comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation and enhanced training for officials.
As the investigations continue and survivors share their harrowing stories, it is crucial that the government takes decisive action against those responsible for this devastating incident. The nation mourns the lives lost and demands justice for the victims and their families.