Pakistan busts human-trafficking network operating through Libya

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan has discovered a six-member human smuggling network and arrested gang leader, Saeed Sunyara, who was running the human-smuggling network with the help of his two sons, one residing in Italy and the other in Libya and four others, from his hometown of Gujrat, according to the investigation report into the deaths of Pakistani nationals in an immigrant boat in February this year – which said that Hamza Sunyara, now residing in Libya; Bilal Sunyara, now residing in Libya; Kashif Sunyara, now residing in Libya and Farhan Ali, now residing in Libya, are the rest of Sunyara’s network, The Express Tribune newspaper said. 

The newspaper added that the arrest was made by the FIA Gujrat Circle after investigation based on the information received from the family members of the victims of the boat accident off the Libyan coast, while en route to Italy four months ago. These Pakistanis were among 67 people, who died, when a migrant boat sank in the Libyan waters near Benghazi on February 26, while they headed towards Italy. Initial reports put the Pakistani death toll to three, but more bodies were recovered later.

“Incidentally, it was the same night when a wooden sailboat sank off the coast of Italy’s southern Calabria region, claiming the lives of 67 migrants, including two Pakistanis. The death toll of the Pakistanis later rose to 28. The FIA Gujrat Circle report, presented to their superiors, said that 15 cases were lodged against different human-smugglers, adding that the four teams were constituted to contact the affected families to identify the local agents who booked those people.” The newspaper said. 

The report indicated that international cooperation has been sought, including assistance from the Italian authorities against the human traffickers residing in Italy, while the process for issuance of international red warrants was being initiated.

“The FIA is also initiating the money laundering proceedings against these accused persons, the report said. The FIA has also approached the relevant authorities to seize the bank accounts and properties of the accused involved in human trafficking cases. Overall, the FIA Gujarat has arrested 10 accused involved in the cases of human smuggling, among them four are on bail, while the courts had declared the remaining six as the proclaimed offenders. Charge-sheets in five cases have been presented in courts.” The newspaper further explained.


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