Thursday June 20, 2024

Pakistan mourns shipwreck amid criticism on Greek authorities

Netizens at home and abroad condemn authorities in Greece for not responding promptly to incident

By Web Desk
June 19, 2023
Survivors of a shipwreck stand outside a warehouse at the port in Kalamata town, Greece on June 14, 2023. — AFP
Survivors of a shipwreck stand outside a warehouse at the port in Kalamata town, Greece on June 14, 2023. — AFP

The country is observing a national day of mourning today (Monday) over the loss of lives in the tragic incident of the migrant boat capsizing with hundreds onboard in the Mediterranean Sea near the Peloponnese region last week.

Expressing grief over the unfortunate incident of a boat capsizing, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced a countrywide day of mourning today.

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry's latest update shared on Saturday, 12 Pakistanis had been identified among the shipwreck survivors.

Estimates range from 400 to over 700 people — but hundreds reportedly came from Pakistan, mostly from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

All but 104 migrants survived the shipwreck and were sent to Kalamata, Greece, as per the latest media reports.

In observance of the mourning day, the national flag flew at half-mast, and special prayers were offered for the deceased.

As the country mourns the unfortunate incident, netizens at home and abroad condemn the authorities in Greece for not responding promptly to the incident or making any effort to avoid such a tragedy.

Reports citing victims have been circulating on social media that the migrants were "deliberately not rescued". There are also reports of "discrimination" towards Pakistanis who were forced below the deck amid the grim voyage.

Three human traffickers arrested: FIA official

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General North Rana Abdul Jabbar shared that three human traffickers had been arrested and were currently being investigated by the agency.

PM Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday ordered immediate action against the elements involved in human trafficking.

While ordering the probe into the matter, the premier directed the authorities concerned to tighten the noose around the elements involved in luring people into dangerous businesses such as trafficking.

Moreover, PM Shehbaz constituted a four-member high-level committee to investigate the tragic incident. The committee shall submit its report within one week.

Updating about the progress in a probe against the traffickers, the FIA official, while speaking during Geo News' programme "Geo Pakistan", said that the federal agency was also in contact with countries where human traffickers reside.

He urged the families of boat tragedy victims to contact the FIA to help with the investigations. "Families of the victims are also victims. Don't be afraid and share the agent's name."

Following the PM's orders of the probe, the FIA arrested a key “human trafficker” in Punjab’s Sheikhupura for sending people abroad illegally.

Taking action on a tip-off, the investigation agency apprehended the key suspect, Talha Shahzaib, from Sheikhupura. He had received Rs6.5 million from Zahid Akbar, a resident of Farooqabad, for sending him abroad.