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Tuesday June 25, 2024

Sarim Burney's bail plea rejected

FIA counsel requests court not to release social worker, as more evidence was to be collected against him

By Amin Anwar
June 11, 2024
Social worker Sarim Burney gestures in this still taken from a video. — X/@SBTIOfficial
Social worker Sarim Burney gestures in this still taken from a video. — X/@SBTIOfficial

KARACHI: The bail petition of social worker Sarim Burney Tuesday was rejected by a local court in the port city in a human trafficking case.

Burney's plea was rejected by Judicial Magistrate (East) Khaliq ul Zaman during the hearing of the case following the completion of arguments by the social worker's lawyer and Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) prosecutor.

FIA counsel requested the court not to release Burney, as more evidence was to be collected against him.

"If the suspect is granted bail, it may affect the investigation," said the FIA counsel, adding that the accused is resorting to continuous lies.

He added that further revelations have been made during the investigation.

The FIA lawyer told the court that baby girl Haya's mother said she contacted the social worker to get her daughter back but he refused to return her.

Meanwhile, Burney's lawyer argued that the FIA did not conduct a proper inquiry into the matter.

"The parents who adopted the baby from the hospital handed her over to the Sarim Burney Trust," he said during the arguments.

The social worker's counsel added that all legal requirements are met in the process of children's adoption.

"FIA made allegations, but could not provide evidence," the lawyer said.

Over the weekend, the court sent Burney to jail on judicial remand, rejecting the agency's request seeking an extension in his physical remand.

The social worker — who runs the Sarim Burney Welfare Trust International, a non-profitable entity — was taken into custody on June 5 after he landed at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi following his US visit.

His arrest and subsequent remand by the FIA came in the wake of charges on him which include human trafficking, smuggling and illegally sending children to the US after American authorities filed a complaint against him.

Burney is accused of smuggling a newborn girl named Haya to the US, FIA said. The officials added that Burney bought the baby from her parents for Rs1 million and sent her to the US.