Pakistan to Observe 'Day of Mourning’ Over Death of Citizens in Greek Shipwreck

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Pakistan's prime minister has declared a national day of mourning for those who died when a fishing trawler packed with people sank off the coast of Greece.

Up to 750 men, women and children from Syria, Egypt, the Palestinian territories and Pakistan were on board the vessel trying to reach Europe.

"While the number of people on board the boat which capsized on 14 June off the coast of Greece is not clear, it is believed to have been somewhere between 400 and 750, according to various testimonies," the International Organization for Migration and the U.N. refugee agency said in a joint statement Friday.

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Pakistan to Observe 'Day of Mourning’ Over Death of Citizens in Greek Shipwreck 1

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's office said the country would observe a national day of mourning on Monday for those who perished. It shared no details about the casualty toll.

Sharif also ordered an immediate crackdown on agents involved in human smuggling, with federal authorities reporting Sunday the arrest of 10 suspects linked to the shipwreck.

Critics remain skeptical about Pakistan's efforts to counter human trafficking, saying the illegal practice takes place with authorities' backing, and culprits often escape prosecution because of their links to influential political figures.

The United States released its annual report last week, listing Pakistan among countries whose governments do not fully meet the minimum standards for eliminating the trafficking of persons.

"The [Pakistani] government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking crimes; however, corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained significant concerns, inhibiting law enforcement action," the report noted.

Thousands of young Pakistanis from poverty-stricken families pay vast amounts to human smugglers and undertake dangerous journeys in a bid to illegally enter Europe in search of a better life.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024