Pakistani authorities have arrested 10 suspected smugglers following a shipwreck off the coast of Greece this week in which numerous migrants died. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered an immediate crackdown on human traffickers and announced that they will be severely punished.
Every year, thousands of young Pakistanis embark on dangerous journeys to Europe in search of a better life. It is estimated that there were at least a dozen Pakistanis on board the rusting fishing boat that sank off Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula on Wednesday. The wreck left at least 78 dead and hundreds missing.
Authorities have reported that nine people were arrested in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where most of the victims came from, and one person was arrested in the city of Gujrat. These individuals are being investigated for their alleged involvement in facilitating the human trafficking process.
An estimated 400 to 750 people were on board the vessel, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry reported on Saturday that 12 Pakistani nationals had survived, but there was no precise information on the total number of Pakistanis on the ship.
According to an immigration official quoted by AFP, the number of Pakistani nationals could exceed 200. The Pakistani government is taking firm action to combat human trafficking and seek justice for the victims of this tragic incident.