Peshawar: Human smuggling victims languish in prison
PESHAWAR: Eight victims of human smuggling are languishing in the Peshawar Central Prison contrary to the provisions of the Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance, 2002. It is learnt that the anti human trafficking wing of the FIA had arrested 13 persons from a local hotel under the said ordinance in May 2008. Four of the arrested persons were released as they were children between 12 to 15 years of age, whereas the prime suspect was released on bail. Rest of the eight arrested persons have still been in the prison.
The authorities have been treating the eight persons as accused. All of them are Afghans and poor persons and as per the details of the FIA a gang of human traffickers and smugglers had promised them that they would be taken to Iran from where they would be onward taken to Turkey And finally to Greece. The said eight persons belong to poor background and have nobody to pursue their case.
Under the Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance, a person should be considered a victim who is the subject of or against whom any offence under the Ordinance has been committed. According to the FIR of the case registered at the Anti Human Trafficking police station of FIA, the FIA officials had prior tip that a gang of human smugglers were staying at Afghan Baghlan Hotel in Peshawar city and they would be smuggling some persons to Iran for onward journey to Greece.
A team led by Inspector Zahidullah Dawar raided the said hotel on May 25 and arrested the 13 persons. The raiding team claimed that when they asked from the said persons they revealed that the prime suspect Haji Abdur Raheem, who was also arrested, had told them that they would be taken to Greece.
The eight imprisoned persons are identified as Hayatullah, Baz Gul, Essa Muhammad, Jehanzeb, Mir Alam, Bilal Muhammad, Rehmatullah and Mian Khan. All of them belong to Baghlan province of Afghanistan and were presently residents of Haripur Afghan refugee camp.
The case was registered under section 3 and 4 of the Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance. Section 3 deals with human trafficking whereas section 4 deals with organised gangs of traffickers. One of the arrested persons has sent a letter to the Voice of Prisoners seeking help for their release. He claimed that they were innocent and were going to Afghanistan when they were picked by the FIA officials.