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Greece boat tragedy: Pakistan decides to amend anti-trafficking laws

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  • Assets of those involved in smuggling to be frozen: sources.
  • High-level committee set up to address issue, says Rana Sanaullah.
  • Bodies to be brought after identification process complete.

Following the tragic shipwreck off the Greece coast in which over 80 Pakistanis died and hundreds are missing, the federal government has decided to amend the Trafficking in Person Act, 2018, sources told Geo News on Friday.

“The proposed amendment will make human smuggling and human trafficking a non-bailable offence,” the sources said, adding that bank accounts and the assets of persons involved in human trafficking and smuggling will be frozen.

‘Flawed laws’

Moreover, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced today that a crackdown is launched against those responsible for human smuggling that led to the deaths of several Pakistani citizens.

“There is also a flaw in the law on this issue,” the federal minister said, addressing the National Assembly.

He further shared that a high-level committee — headed by a grade 22 officer — had been set up to address the issue.

“The committee is working on three aspects,” he revealed, adding that those involved in the accidents have been spared from the courts so far.

However, Sanaullah said proposed legislation in this regard is in progress.

“These people try to go to Europe through Egypt, Libya and UAE. Thousands of young people are in contact with these three countries regarding the issuance of visas,” he added.

Reiterating that action would be taken against those involved in human trafficking, he said comprehensive recommendations would be brought before the nation, and full measures would be taken to prevent illegal migration.

Shedding light on the accountability of those involved in human smuggling and trafficking in the past, Sanaullah said: “In the five years of data available, hardly anyone has been convicted. Then, the affected families reconcile.”

He added that people travel legally from Pakistan to Egypt, Libya and UAE.

“After that, people travel illegally,” he said.

’82 Pakistani bodies brought back so far’

The interior minister said that 12 Pakistanis were rescued in the accident, where the boat with a capacity of 400 people had carried 700 people.

“The number of Pakistanis on the boat found so far is 350,” he said, adding that, perhaps, not as many lives were lost in any terrorist incident.

He further said that 82 bodies had been removed from the sea, and the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) teams are trying to identify them through DNA.

The minister said special desks have been established to contact the affected families. “So far 281 families have contacted these desks.”

He shared that the bodies of the deceased can be brought back after the identification process is complete.

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US envoy urges deeper strengthening of relations with Pakistan

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The significance of strengthening relations with Pakistan was highlighted by US Ambassador Donald Blome on Thursday.

Blome visited the Chaukhandi cemetery in Karachi, based on the information. President Donald Blome and other delegates were cordially welcomed by Sindh Minister of Culture and Tourism Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah on this particular occasion.

Narendra Kumar, Heather Murphy, and Zahra Hajiani were among the delegation members who visited Chaukhandi Graveyard’s historic tombs with the American envoy, Acting Consul General Jimmy Mauldin.

Highlighting the rich historical significance of Chaukhandi graveyard, Minister Zulfiqar Ali Shah shared his ideas with the US ambassador.

Blome highlighted the Chaukhandi tombs for their exquisite craftsmanship and architectural design. He promised to help Pakistani visitors with their visa requirements.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), he promised to promote the nation’s historical sites.

In the meantime, Shah stated, “The Sindh government is taking steps to provide all sorts of facilities to the tourists.”

Pakistan will receive additional assistance from the US to lower methane gas emissions.

The US decided to help Pakistan lower its methane gas emissions earlier this month.

At a USAID Climate Financing event, US Ambassador Blome stated: “We are working very hard to lower methane gas emissions from dairy farming. The Green Climate Fund in Pakistan will be consulted for funding this initiative.”

“As of 2030, there are global efforts to reduce the temperature by 1 degree Celsius. The US-Pakistan Green Alliance is being followed by the collaboration with Pakistan, according to Blome.

“The problems can only be addressed by providing the stakeholders with financial and technical resources,” he continued.

The government’s first aim is to revitalise the cattle industry, according to Federal Secretary Dr. Fakhre Alam. Raising dairy farming’s production capacity will help it overcome its environmental problems.”

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Shehbaz travels to the UAE in order to strengthen trade relations.

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This visit, which is being accompanied by a high-level delegation made up of important ministers such as Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Commerce Minister Jam Kamal, Information Minister Ataullah Tarar, and advisor Tariq Fatemi, is intended to strengthen bilateral ties and expand cooperation between the two countries.
Prime Minister Sharif will visit President Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. The high-level gathering will cover Pakistani and UAE bilateral relations, with an emphasis on commerce and investment.

Along with exploring strategic alliances and shared interests that can help their respective nations, they are also expected to concentrate on talking about ways to advance collaboration across a range of industries.

Prime Minister Sharif has talks planned with other Emirati leaders, businesspeople, and heads of financial organisations in addition to his diplomatic engagements. In an effort to promote economic cooperation and draw in investment, he is also scheduled to meet with businessmen and investors from Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

The Shehbaz intends to encourage UAE companies to extend their operations into the Pakistani market by interacting with influential businesspeople and highlighting investment prospects in Pakistan.

These exchanges will offer a forum for talking about doable ways to strengthen business relations and carry out initiatives that will benefit both parties. Pakistan’s determination to enhance its political and economic ties with the United Arab Emirates is demonstrated by the visit.

After ending his day-long journey to Iran to offer condolences for the terrible death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has returned to Pakistan.

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Memon accuses temporary government of ‘delaying’ the BRT Red Line project

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On Thursday, Sindh Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon accused the interim administration of “delaying” the Red Line project of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Memon stated what he thought, saying, “The BRT Red Line project was mission impossible. However, the project has now begun to be worked on.”

“The reason government is formed is to solve the issues that the people face. “The government is working tirelessly to bring relief to the masses,” he declared.

Memon declared, “It’s also being done about the unlawful bus stands. The passengers will have access to shuttle service from us.”

“A large number of transport projects have already begun. “We aim to ensure that every individual receives a chance to work,” he continued.

Pakistan was ‘started to damage’ by the founder of PTI.

Memon reported on Thursday that a campaign to hurt the nation was started by the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Memon said at a Karachi event: “Israel discusses the human rights violations in Pakistan. Israel, a party to the Palestinian holocaust, is endorsing the PTI’s founder. Israel has provided election funding to the PTI’s founder.”

“The worst election tampering in 2018 produced the PTI founder’s victory. Police officers, the parliament, and the PTV were all attacked,” he claimed.

“The entire country was closed due to a 126-day protest,” Memon claimed.

The PTI founder was made fun of by Memon, who said, “The PTI founder had always embraced the politics of anarchy.”

Memon stated the following when discussing the state of law and order in Sindh: “The Sindh government is serious about the state of law and order in the province. In terms of keeping Sindh peaceful, everyone is in agreement.”

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