Arrest Made in Connection with Greek Boat Incident
The ‘prime accused’ responsible for human trafficking which led to the Greek boat incident, Mumtaz Arain, was arrested on Tuesday after instructions from Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar.
Tragedy Leaves Hundreds Dead
Reports suggested that more than 300 Pakistanis were among those who died after a boat packed with migrants capsized off the coast of Greece last week.
The death toll in the disaster could top many hundred as witness accounts suggested that 400 to 750 people packed the fishing boat that sank about 50 miles (80km) from the southern Greek town of Pylos.
Greek authorities have said 104 survivors and 78 bodies of the dead were brought ashore in the immediate aftermath. Hopes were fading of finding any more people alive. Most of the people on board were from Egypt, Syria and Pakistan, Greek government officials have said.
Arrests Made in Connection with Incident
According to a spokesperson from the Punjab Police, the Punjab Police Vihari team arrested the accused after 24 hours of tireless work. They recovered the mobile phone of Aslam, the other main suspect, during the arrest.
Moreover, crucial evidence including important documents and mobile data was also recovered from the accused, who will be handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for further investigation.
The Punjab IG said that everyone involved in the Greek boating incident would be arrested soon and that the Punjab Police is providing full support to the FIA and other agencies in arrests and investigations.
The culprits involved in the Greece boat tragedy will be arrested and severely punished, he added.
A day earlier, the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) claimed to have arrested at least two “key suspects” from Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin related to the Greece shipwreck and registered a first information report (FIR) against the human smugglers.
Government Promises Action
Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah assured that the government would take strict action regarding the Greek boat accident and that the investigation report would be submitted within a week by duly fixing responsibility on those involved in negligence.
In response to the accident, a committee constituted under strict directives of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif commenced its investigation, Sana said while talking to a private news channel.
“The investigation committee will present its report in a week and further action will be taken by the federal government,” he added.
He said the committee will ascertain facts of the Greece boat tragedy besides identifying loopholes and lapses in the legal mechanism in Pakistan that exposed precious human lives to the vagaries of human trafficking in this particular case and similar incidents in the past.
“The committee will also analyse similar past incidents and actions will be taken according to the legal framework, and international coordination will also help to prevent, control and punish human smuggling in the future,” he continued.
The minister maintained that the incumbent government would review short-term and long-term legislation to curb the issue besides envisaging laws for giving penalties to the people responsible for such incidents.