A horrible end

Families believe bright future lies only overseas. Policies need to be put in place to end this sense of despondency.

Editorial July 21, 2011

We hear of tragedies of this kind over and over again. The latest involves the death of six young men, aged between 20 and 22 years, as a result of asphyxiation after being left trapped in a small container on the Turkish border. The young men, all from Sialkot, were attempting to make their way to Greece after paying agents in Sialkot, Karachi and Quetta nearly Rs400,000 to get them into Europe. They died after being abandoned by the agents in the face of tough Turkish security. Their bodies were discovered in the air-tight container after they were dead. The horror of their last moments can only be imagined.

There have been other incidents of a similar nature before. Pakistanis have died trying to reach countries in Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and other places with agents extorting money from families in the promise of getting them there. In some cases, children as young as 14 have been discovered trying to make a ‘getaway’ across the Iranian or Afghan border in search of a better life. This trade in human beings has gone on for far too long. Some arrests have been made but the ‘big fish’ involved in the human smuggling racket remain free. Some reports have suggested they have powerful political links. It is obvious they will need to be acted against if more deaths are to be avoided.

The other question is why so many men, like the six from Sialkot who met such an awful end, wish to take all kinds of risks to escape home and the lives they lead there. We all know the answers — in large-scale unemployment, deprivation and a lack of opportunity. Families believe hope for the future lies only overseas. Policies need to be put in place to end this sense of despondency and give people the optimism they need to try and make a decent life for themselves at home rather than falling into the hands of unscrupulous agents out to mint money.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2011.


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