Senate panel urges concerted efforts against human trafficking

Committee on interior stresses need for appointment of liaison officers in Turkey, Italy and Middle Eastern countries

APP November 21, 2019
Committee on interior stresses need for appointment of liaison officers in Turkey, Italy and Middle Eastern countries. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior on Thursday underlined the need for appointment of new liaison officers in Turkey, Italy and the Middle Eastern countries to collect information about human traffickers for dismantling their rackets in Pakistan.

A meeting of the committee, chaired by its chairman Senator Rehman Malik, was informed that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had set up three link offices in Oman, Iran and Greece for exchange of information about the human traffickers.

“There is a dire need to appoint liaison officers in Turkey, Italy and the Middle Eastern (ME) countries, which are being used as transitory route for illegal immigration, in order to gather valuable information about human traffickers,” Malik said.

He said the committee would extend full support to the FIA in availing the required budget from the government in that regard. Earlier, a senior FIA official apprised the committee of the actions taken by the agency to curb human smuggling and trafficking.

He said some 4,613 cases had been registered against human traffickers, out of which 3,000 got punished under the anti-human trafficking laws during the first nine months of this year. Some 1,050 human traffickers had also been arrested this year, he added.

Due to lengthy porous border with Iran and Afghanistan, the FIA officer said, an intra-agency task force had also been established to enhance coordination among all the stakeholders to control the human trafficking through collection of intelligence and information sharing.

Senate panel seeks details of 400 human trafficking cases

He said the FIA had also opened circle offices in multiple cities, especially in the central Punjab, adding that the initiative had helped alleviate human trafficking complaints.

Senator Javed Abbasi stressed the need for evolving a comprehensive mechanism to curb illegal immigration from the country, adding that the government should step up its efforts for repatriating those people who were caught in Turkey.

The FIA officer said as many as 1,800 Pakistanis had been repatriated from Turkish detainee camps while interviews of some 3,000 detainees had been conducted by the FIA team to trace out the masterminds of human trafficking in Pakistan.

Dr Shehzad Waseem said some countries had signed agreements with European countries to exchange information on human smugglers and traffickers and in return the formers were given some incentives by the latter. He proposed similar arrangements with European countries.

Malik underscored the importance of reviewing the contemporary laws to effectively deal with human trafficking and smuggling.
He directed the FIA to formulate and submit an effective border management policy in the next committee meeting to hold further discussion on it.

He urged the FIA to launch awareness campaigns to sensitise the people about the implication of human trafficking.

On the onset of meeting, the committee condemned the highly unethical, immoral and inhumane statements of Indian politicians and the recent remarks of a retired Indian army officer, in which they justified that rape of Kashmiri women by Indian troops.

Regretting the statements of Indian leadership, the committee members said it was a tragedy of that century and a big black mark on the Indian nation.

The committee demands of the Foreign Affairs Ministry to take up the matter with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and register a protest.

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