GUJRAT: The families of at least five Pakistanis, who reportedly died when their boat capsized while illegally crossing Iran-Turkey border on June 27, have urged the government authorities to take measures for the repatriation of bodies to Pakistan.
There are conflicting reports about the number of fatalities of illegal emigrants belonging to Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin and Wazirabad cities; however death of five people, including three from Adowal village near Gujrat and two from Lalamusa city, have been confirmed by their families.
A boat carrying at least 80 to 100 illegal emigrants belonging to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan had capsized in Van lake of Turkey’s Bitlis province which borders Iran and usually human traffickers use that route to avoid strict checking on roads.
Former chairman Adowal union council Rukhsar Meelu told Dawn that the families of three youth – Muhammad Mohsin, Ali Raza and Rehman Ashraf – had confirmed the deaths.
He said the Turkish authorities had laid to rest all the deceased and now the families were demanding the return of bodies to Pakistan.
Adding he said the deceased men had paid a sum of Rs200,000 per head to a local agent to reach Turkey and their ultimate destination was crossing into Europe illegally with the help of traffickers.
Similarly, two men of Lalamusa city – Faisal of Railway Colony and Nanha of Lalazar – were also among the deceased [in the same incident] and the family of one of them had already offered funeral prayers in absentia.
Locals said the deceased hailed from poor families and they had paid the amount to the agents after selling some household items and borrowing money from their kin.
They said the agents had fled after receiving charges. They have demanded a strict action against human traffickers.
It was learnt that the aggrieved families approached PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi, also an MNA from Gujrat city, to help them bring the bodies back and locals said Mr Elahi assured them of his complete support to the effect.
Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2020