Islamabad: 6-member gang of human smugglers busted
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested a six–member gang involved in human smuggling from Rawalpindi, official sources said. They said the gang was involved in trafficking 13 innocent youth who had suffocated to death in a container on the border of Greece while being transported from Turkey last month. The human smuggling gang was backed by top politicians and have smuggled thousands of people to Turkey from where they were smuggled to Greece.
The tragic incident occurred on July 30, 2008, when the Turkish police found 13 bodies of illegal Pakistani migrants dumped at a place by human traffickers after they suffocated while being transported in a packed truck. A report quoting an eyewitness said that a truck had dropped the bodies and about 130 illegal immigrants there early in the morning after the suspected traffickers apparently panicked over the deaths. The Turkish police, later, arrested 50 illegal immigrants while the remaining managed to escape from the scene.
The FIA’s official sources told The News that after the deadly incident, Director General (DG) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Tariq Pervez, asked the officials of the concerned districts to hunt down human smugglers involved in the incident.
Teams in different districts were constituted to trace the human smuggling rackets involved in the illegal business, the sources said. The Director FIA, Lahore, Muhammad Azam Joya, traced the identity of the six–member gang — Sajjad Bhatti (Daska), Attique Shah (Gujar Khan), Arshad Javaid Bhagrhi (Sialkot), Sabar Malik (Gujranwala), Mian Abraiz (Kharian, Gujrat) and Muhammad Ashfaq (Qilla Deedar Singh) — and started search for them.
Meanwhile, he came to know that the racketeers were present at a hideout at Kurri Road in Rawalpindi, the sources said, adding that he informed the FIA Rawalpindi and a team led by Inspector Mian Muhammad Sabar was constituted to assist the FIA Lahore team. The combined team conducted a raid and arrested all the human smugglers wanted to FIA and 10 passports stamped with Turkish visas were also recovered from their possession.
DG FIA, acknowledging the performance of FIA’s investigators and raiding team members, awarded them cash prizes and appreciation certificates. DG FIA Tariq Pervez when contacted said, “Poor parents who hand over their young sons to human smugglers to send them abroad are actually buying deaths for them.”
“The FIA has put its utmost efforts to abolish human trafficking, earning a bad name for the country,” the DG said, adding that they could not achieve success without public cooperation. As many as 2,289 illegal immigrants, among the total of 7,661 smuggled to various countries during this year, were deported from Turkey, Tariq Pervez said. However, the FIA has arrested 607 key human smugglers during the last seven months, he maintained.