At least 18,677 deportees were interviewed this year on their return to Pakistan, but details gleaned from them led to arrests of just 357 ‘agents’ involved in human trafficking, the Ministry of Interior informed the National Assembly in a written reply.
The ministry was responding to a query filed by an MNA, Muhammad Muzammil Qureshi.
The ministry also stated that 1,153 cases were filed against such ‘agents’ this year and just 647 of them were found involved in human trafficking.
According to the ministry, whereabouts of 290 ‘agents’ involved in human trafficking remain unknown.
Moreover, the government claimed developing a mechanism to eliminate illegal travelling of Pakistanis abroad. This included profiling of passengers as part of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and offloading of passengers on incomplete documents after screening at immigration check posts.
Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) has been installed at all FIA immigration check posts.
The staff of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) can verify the travel history of passengers using IBMS and compare passengers with live pictures in the system in case of doubts about impersonation.
Edison System for forgery detection was also installed at immigration check points. The system is recognised as a global reference for testing the authenticity of government-issued documents. CNICs of proclaimed offenders/agents or human smugglers are also temporarily blocked in a bid to stop human smuggling, the written reply said.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also been approached to know where any suspect had cast votes to determine the current whereabouts of absconding agents/human smugglers.
Moreover, particulars of human traffickers/smugglers had been placed in a ‘black list’ or Passport Control List and Exit Control List (ECL) as a policy measure to curb human smuggling.
A crackdown was launched across the country against human smugglers and traffickers since November 18, 2015. The FIA is trying to identify agents, facilitators and masterminds of illegal immigrants and racketeers involved in such crimes.
As a result of this special campaign, as many as 3,446 human smugglers were arrested during the same period.
Other measures, the ministry stated, had also been adopted to curb human smuggling.
But the increasing number of Pakistanis deported from various countries belies the tall claims made by the authorities concerned.