Greece boat tragedy case: Key 'human trafficker' suspect arrested in Pakistan

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Islamabad [Pakistan], June 19 (ANI): In a major development in the Greece boat tragedy case, wherein 78 people lost their lives, Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), on Sunday, claimed to have arrested the main human trafficker from Sheikhupura, Punjab, Geo News reported.

Earlier, on June 14, dozens of migrants and refugees on board the trawler that sank off Greece's Peloponnese peninsula, killed at least 78 people.

As many as 750 men, women and children - also from Syria, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories - were on board the vessel, trying to reach relatives in Europe. The sinking was one of the worst disasters of its kind this year. The Greek coast guard has defended its response to the tragedy, Al Jazeera reported.

According to the FIA, after receiving a tip-off, the agency apprehended the key suspect, Talha Shahzaib, from Sheikhupura. He had received Pakistani Rupees (Rs) 6.5 million from Zahid Akbar resident of Farooqabad for sending him abroad.

The development came hours after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered an immediate crackdown on agents engaged in human trafficking, saying they would be "severely punished".

According to Geo News, the alleged human trafficker sent Akbar to his uncle residing in Libya, said the FIA officials, adding that his parents live in Italy.

Meanwhile, another "human trafficker" involved in sending people abroad illegally was taken into custody in Wazirabad, confirmed the FIA spokesperson, reported Geo News.

Earlier on Sunday, the officials apprehended 10 alleged human traffickers in the country days after dozens of migrants drowned off the coast of Greece.

Earlier, the prime minister constituted a four-member high-level committee to investigate the tragic incident of the boat capsizing off Greece's coast.

According to a notification issued by the PM's Office, the committee will comprise National Police Bureau Director General Ehsan Sadiq --who will head the body -- Minister of Foreign Affairs Additional Secretary (Africa) Javed Ahmed Umrani, AJK's Police Region Poonch Deputy Inspector General Sardar Zaheer Ahemed and FIA's Joint Secretary Faisal Nisar Chaudhry, as per Geo News. (ANI)

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