LAHORE - FIA Punjab arrested 994 proclaimed offenders and recovered Rs.1.18 billion from their possession during current year, revealed statistics available with The Nation on Monday.

At least 1,883 proclaimed offenders were still at large in the year 2015 while in 2016, 450 more POs were added to that list. Out of total 2,333 Pos, FIA arrested 994 and pending on record were 1,339.

Different circles of FIA Punjab including Anti Corruption Circle (ACC), Commercial Bank Circle (CBC), Corporate Crime Circle (CCC) and Anti Human Trafficking Circle (AHTC) initiated as many as 5,684 enquiries this year including 1,318 carried over from previous year.

Out of total 7,002 enquiries, 3,119 were transferred or closed while 2,379 were converted into cases and 1,504 are lying pending as yet.

Different circles of FIA Punjab registered 3,652 cases while 1,506 cases were carried over from previous year. Out of total 5,158 cases 402 were transferred to the departments concerned or closed and challans of 3,078 were submitted to different courts. Whereas 1,678 cases are still pending with different circles.

There were 1,010 court absconder (CAs) during current year with 951 carried over from previous year out of whom FIA Punjab Lahore arrested 100 while 910 are still pending on record. FIA recovered from offenders Rs. 1.177 billion during 11 months of the current year and different courts imposed fine on offenders Rs150 millions.

Top recovery of Rs.851 million was made by Corporate Crime Circle Lahore while AHTC Gujranwala stood on number second in this regard. AHTC Gujranwala and AHTC Lahore remained on the top regarding registration of cases against human smugglers by registering 1,157 cases registered with AHTC Gujranwala while 1,120 with AHTC Lahore. Similarly both the circles were at the top regarding start of enquiries. AHTC Lahore initiated 1,620 enquiries during eleven months of the year while AHTC Gujranwala initiated 1,556 enquiries.

Human smuggling is the main crime to be countered by FIA and upper Punjab districts are main hub for this crime. UNODC Country Office Pakistan is currently implementing a public awareness campaign against human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Punjab and Balochistan. According to research, most of the traffickers and victims belong to four districts of Punjab; Sialkot, Mandibahuddin, Gujranwala and Gujrat and are trafficked/smuggled via Balcohistan to Iran and then to elsewhere. Therefore, the campaign is focused on the source and the transit to make the general population aware of the dangers associated with this crime. 

The campaign was developed in partnership with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with a simple message in Urdu which translates as "Stand up against human trafficking and migrant smuggling, it is illegal, unethical and un-Islamic.”

As part of the campaign, three hundred thousand (300,000) flyers, eighty thousand (80,000) posters are in the process of being distributed in the four districts of Punjab. Similar message was also disseminated through national/district newspapers and was aired on local radio stations.

Trafficking in persons is a crime that ruthlessly exploits women, children and men for countless reasons, including forced labor and domestic servitude.