Thousands of Pakistani youngsters remain stranded at detention facilities in Athens city of Greece after illegal border-crossings, said an FIA officer, citing 42 Pakistani deportees who touched down in Lahore on Thursday.
The deportees arrived by Qatar Airlines flight QR-620 at around 7:50 in the morning. It was the third flight within a week brining deportees back from Athens in large numbers. Forty-four Pakistanis were deported on Wednesday and 31 on November 14 from Greece. The deportees were transported under International Organization of Migrants programme.
A 60-member Greek intelligence squad handed the deportees over to FIA Immigration Additional Director Basharat Shehzad and other authorities deputed at the Lahore airport.
The deportees tell the sad story of their peers trapped in Athens. There is nobody who could listen to these youngsters, they say. According to a senior FIA official, all the deportees were released against personal surety and none was sent to Agency’s Anti-Human Trafficking Cell for further action. Only one of them possessed the genuine travel documents, added Ali Imam Zaidi, FIA Immigration assistant director. Ninety-five per cent of these deportees belonged to upper Punjab districts of Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Mandi Bahauddin, Lala Musa, Kharian and Jhelum, senior FIA official Abu Zar Sibtain told The Nation.
Another FIA official who wished anonymity raised the alarm that human trafficking was on the rise in the country, notably in upper Punjab. But, he added, the Agency could not act accordingly because of many influential persons and parliamentarians having stakes in this big business. The official further said only cosmetic measures had been taken to curb human trafficking and that was the reason the real accused were operating freely unmindful of the bad name they were brining to the country.
The economy of Greece is already in a shambles due to which Pakistanis crossing into Greece in search of better future got trapped there. As per the laws, after being arrested and deported, a person is not supposed to be arrested or sent to jail in his homeland.
Interestingly, a former FIA Punjab director Waqar Haider had chalked out a strategy about sending deportees from airport to FIA provincial headquarters just for fame. His blue-eyed inspector Chaudhry Hanif would then mint money from them by hook or by crook. Each deportee had to pay Rs25,000 to Rs30,000 to secure his release.
Nevertheless, everything has changed now. Incumbent FIA Punjab Director Qudratullah Marwat has ordered to release every deportee from the airport. It may be noted here that most of the deportees were between 22 and 30 years of age. They had paid a huge sum of money to get out but put their lives at risk instead.
Reports say each deportee would pay around Rs0.5 million to Rs0.7 million to human smugglers for his entry to Greece.
An FIA officer said human traffickers used illegal route of Iran via Balochistan, and then from Iran to Turkey and into Greece. They make their entry through illegal border-crossings where, sometimes, border police open fire on them and some of them lose their lives too.
Sometimes these deportees are kidnapped by their own Pakistani people after reaching Greece. As per reports, Pakistanis already present in Greece and those who are jobless have started abducting their own countrymen for ransom.
These criminals trap newcomers. They lure them with providing of good jobs but after transporting them to undisclosed locations they torture them. They make telephone calls to their families in Pakistan and demand ransom from them.