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FIA arrests three suspects from Sialkot, Gujranwala

FIA arrests three suspects from Sialkot, Gujranwala

GUJRANWALA / SIALKOT / QUETTA: Following the discovery of 15 bullet-riddled bodies by the Levies force in Balochistan’s Buleda tehsil on Wednesday morning, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raided and arrested several human traffickers in Sialkot and Gujranwala districts on Thursday.

The bodies were brought back to Punjab late on Thursday for burial.

Speaking to journalists, FIA divisional deputy director Khalid Anees said Sabir Gujjar, the main suspect, had taken some of the 15 men from Punjab to Quetta after taking a sizeable sum from them.

In Quetta, Gujjar had allegedly paid an accomplice Abid Gujjar Rs50,000 to take his clients further, who then handed over the men to two other agents. Sabir Gujjar remains at large, the official said.

Muhammad Tanveer from Mundair Khurd village of Sialkot district was picked up for his alleged involvement in human trafficking.

The FIA official said that Tanveer and his nephew Rashid Cheema, who is currently in Turkey, had taken Rs150,000 each from Abdul Ghafoor and Zafran, residents of Bhagwal Awan village in Sialkot district, to send them to Turkey via Iran. Ghafoor and Zafran were both among those killed.

Zafer Iqbal of Jamki Chattha in Wazirabad tehsil was another suspect arrested.

Sabir Gujjar and Abid Gujjar hail from the same village. The FIA official said they were conducting raids to arrest them. The son of Muhammad Khan Pathan of Phalia, a notorious human trafficker, was also allegedly arrested by the FIA.

He added that the 15 men had been brought to Quetta separately, some as early as 20 days ago.

Four of the victims hailed from Silakot. They had been taken to Quetta by human traffickers who had apparently taken a lot of money from their families for this purpose.

Earlier in Islamabad, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal directed the FIA to look into the killings.

He ordered immediate and effective action against the agents who had a reprehensible role in the episode.

The documents and other items found on the 15 bodies suggested the men were trying to cross into Iran. However, it was not clear as to what had led to their death.

Asif Chaudhry in Lahore and Iftikhar A. Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2017

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