‘Hopeless’: Why Pakistanis are leaving, shedding their lives at sea | Migration Information



Islamabad, Pakistan – Two members of Abid Kashmiri’s household have been on board the airplane A ship full of refugees which washed ashore in Greece final week.

A cousin, Imran Nazir, and a nephew, Abdul Islam, traveled to Libya in March from the Kotli district of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, after acquiring legitimate visas for the war-torn nation.

However Syria was not the couple’s final cease, Kashmiri stated, including that her household knew their unique vacation spot: Europe.

“There are a lot of folks from our village who’ve managed to go to European international locations the place they’re now settled, permitting their households to stay a great life right here in Pakistan,” Kashmiri, an electrician, instructed Al Jazeera on Tuesday. inform me

He stated members of the family paid 2.2 million Pakistani rupees ($7,655) for every passenger to “brokers” who present paperwork for folks in search of monetary alternatives overseas.

He additional stated that each Nazir and Islam have been single they usually additionally needed to discover a technique to go to Europe.

They perceive now Among the lost From the Greek ship tragedy.

The Worldwide Group for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Refugee Company (UNHCR) stated that between 400 and 750 folks have been believed to be on board the boat that sank 47 nautical miles (87 km) into the Ionian Sea on June 14. ) sank at Removed from the Greek metropolis of Pylos.

To date, solely 104 survivors have been discovered alive. Not one of the girls or youngsters aboard the ship have been discovered.

‘He was a great youngster and a great pupil’

In response to the info collected by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Company (FIA), at the least 124 Pakistanis have been recognized within the airplane that sunk off the coast of Greece. It’s stated that solely 12 Pakistanis survived the sinking.

The accident off Greece was the third main incident recorded since February by which migrants and refugees from Pakistan misplaced their lives at sea.

In February, greater than 20 Pakistanis have been among the many 60 who died when a ship capsized close to the southern Italian area of Calabria. Two months later, Pakistanis have been among the many 57 our bodies that washed ashore in Libya when two boats carrying refugees sank within the Mediterranean Sea.

Anis Majeed, a 24-year-old legislation pupil from Kotli district, stated that his cousin Owais Asif was one of many folks on board the airplane that sank final week.

“My cousin left the nation 5 months in the past and when he was leaving, tons of of individuals got here to see him off,” Majeed instructed Al Jazeera.

In response to Majeed, 21-year-old Asif made a harmful journey resulting from his household’s poor monetary scenario and his father’s poor well being.

“He was a great child and a great pupil. However he determined to take this journey for greener pastures and a greater monetary future for himself and his household,” stated Majeed.

“There are a lot of folks in our space who’ve modified their lives by touring to Europe. My cousin thought he may do the identical.”

Survivors of a shipwreck rest in a warehouse at the port in the city of Kalamata
Survivors of a shipwreck relaxation in a warehouse on the port within the metropolis of Kalamata, 240 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of Athens, on June 14, 2023. [File: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP Photo]

‘crime of consent’

Rana Abdul Jabbar, a senior FIA official, stated that 90 p.c of the folks recognized as having sunk have been on board those that had beforehand gone to Libya legally.

“In response to our data, the overwhelming majority of those folks obtained both work permits or journey visas to Libya, they usually went there from Karachi by way of Dubai, for which they paid brokers who would facilitate their paperwork,” he stated. They have been, he added. Whereas the authorities arrested 26 alleged human traffickers who have been concerned in human trafficking.

In 2022, the FIA ​​prevented 19,000 folks from leaving Pakistan by land or air, Jabbar stated, whereas 10,000 folks have been prevented from leaving the nation to this point this 12 months.

“A lot of those that have been attempting to go away the nation on the airport couldn’t be glad [authorities as to] Why have been they leaving?” He added that in 2022, greater than 34,000 folks have been deported from Pakistan for staying illegally in numerous European international locations.

Jabbar stated that the development of financial migration is especially seen within the “discovery areas” of Pakistan, which have a historical past of individuals shifting to and dwelling in Europe.

He stated that earlier, many of the Pakistanis attempting to succeed in Europe used land routes, by which they traveled via Iran, Turkey and Greece.

“Whereas many of those international locations, together with Pakistan, have carried out strict border management insurance policies, migrants have now turned to withdrawal. [the] The ocean route, from the place they attempt to attain Libya after which by boat,” Jabbar stated.

One issue in attempting to cease folks from making such a harmful journey is that it’s a “crime of consent,” he stated.

“Smugglers have developed this new technique the place they acquire authentic paperwork for folks wishing to journey,” he defined. “How do you cease somebody who has a legitimate passport and visa?” It then turns into a authorized situation of proscribing one’s proper to motion.


Kashmiri, who misplaced his cousin and brother-in-law, stated that though the tragedy has saddened him, he nonetheless understands that his members of the family risked their lives attempting to immigrate to Europe.

“It is the desperation of this place that forces them to go away,” the 34-year-old stated.

Pakistan is in financial disaster.

The nation has greater than 4 billion {dollars} in overseas reserves, which is sufficient to cowl just one month’s value of cash. The nationwide foreign money – the Pakistani rupee – has additionally depreciated by greater than 50% towards the US greenback up to now 12 months alone, and inflation has reached a historic excessive of round 38%.

“When somebody decides to take this step, regardless of figuring out all of the dangers concerned, think about what motivated them to take this harmful journey,” Kashmiri stated.

“You must be extremely courageous to even consider doing that.”


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