LAHORE  - A special plane carrying more than 30 Pakistani deportees from Greece landed at Allama Iqbal International Airport on Thursday, Federal Investigation Agency officers said.

A 60-member squad of Greek intelligence officers handed over the deportees to FIA Immigration Additional Director Basharat Shehzad and other authorities deputed at the Lahore airport.

According to sources, nearly 95 per cent of the deportees belonged to upper Punjab.

An FIA officer said Basharat Shehzad visited the airport on directions from the agency director to look after the release process of the deportees, instead of sending them to anti-human trafficking cell.

Normally deportees are arrested upon their arrival and sent to AHTC for further action, but in this case, 30 deportees were released on the spot and only one was sent AHTC due to his passport being forged.

An immigration officer said there was nobody to receive the deportees, so the authorities fulfilled all the formalities on their own and on personal surety, the deportees were released. He ruled out the impression that immigration officers had received any bribe from the deportees. “Telephone numbers of all the deportees are available. Anybody can confirm from them whether they were asked for any bribe,” they added.

Sources in FIA said human trafficking was on the rise in the country especially in upper Punjab districts of Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Mandi Bahauddin, Lala Musa, Kharian and Jhelum. They said human trafficking was being patronised by influential persons and also by parliamentarians due to which action against them could never be taken properly. Only cosmetic measures had been taken to curb human smuggling, and that the real accused were still at large, they added.

Economy of Greece is already in a shambles due to which Pakistanis visiting Greece for better future get arrested after they fail to get a better job. As per the laws, after being arrested and deported, a deportee is not supposed to be arrested and sent to jail in Pakistan.

The majority of the deportees coming Thursday fell in the age group of 22 to 30. They had paid a huge sum of money to human traffickers and then put their lives at risk to enter Greece.

As per reports, every deportee pays around Rs0.5 million to Rs0.7 million to human smugglers for his illegal entry in Greece.

An FIA officer said human traffickers used illegal route of Iran via Balochistan, and then from Iran to Turkey and into Greece. They make their entry through trespassing or illegal border crossing where, at times, border police open fire on them and some of them lose their lives too.

Sometimes these deportees are kidnapped by their own Pakistani people after reaching Greece. As per reports, Pakistanis already present in Greece and those who are jobless have started abducting their own countrymen for ransom. These criminals trap newcomers. They hold out promises about providing them with good jobs but after transporting them to undisclosed locations they torture them. They make telephone calls to their families in Pakistan and demand ransom from them.

Despite all these miseries, youngsters are always ready to leave for Greece and other European countries for a better future.

54,000 Pakistanis deported

from Saudi Arabia

Agencies add: Pakistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Muhammad Naeem Khan has said after the imposition of new laws, 54,000 Pakistanis have been deported from Saudi Arabia.

Talking to media persons in Riyadh, he said from May to November 3, at least 0.8 million Pakistanis got their status legalised in Saudi Arabia for which Pakistani embassy had been working day and night for the past six months.

Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan informed that there were 1.5 million Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia out of which 54,000 were deported after they failed to legalise their status in the kingdom till November 3.

Now those Pakistanis who have failed to legalise their status may face action by the Saudi authorities.

Taling to BBC, the ambassador said “There is a fear of imprisonment and deportation of thousands of Pakistanis in the Kingdom.”

These Pakistanis have been facing difficulties after the start of a drive against illegal immigrant in the kingdom.

Meanwhile, Makkah police have detained 4,060 illegal workers following the government crackdown on visa and residency violators over the past 10 days.

Spokesman Col Abdulmohsin Al-Maiman told Arab News that the illegal workers were handed over to the deportation centre for their final exit to their home countries.

Makkah police chief Gen Asaf Al-Qurashi guided the field operations against illegal foreign workers, he said.

Many security forces were involved in executing the raids, including security patrols and the Traffic Department, he said.