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Pak in bid to free nationals in Muscat

Islamabad, Nov. 18: As human trafficking reaches serious proportions in Pakistan, efforts are underway to repatriate over 1500 nationals incarcerated in Muscat jails.

“These 1500 Pakistanis were smuggled to Muscat by human traffickers last year and we are now trying to secure their release so that they can celebrate Id with their families,” chairman of the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust International (ABWTI), Ansar Burney, said.

He added that the trust is in touch with authorities in Muscat through Pakistan’s mission in Oman and the foreign office in order to secure the release of the jailed Pakistanis before Id.

“We achieved a big success when authorities in Muscat recently released 1334 Pakistani prisoners in two separate groups,” Burney said.

He maintained that these Pakistanis had been smuggled to Muscat by fake travel agents, adding that there are hundreds of Pakistanis still working as slave labourers in Syria and other West Asian countries.

He said according to available estimates, over 10,000 people, including children, were smuggled out to different countries this year.

In 2002, the trust was involved in returning to their parents at least 15 children between the ages of three and six recovered from the Gulf or while bring smuggled abroad for use as camel jockeys.

At least 40 arrests were made in connection with the smuggling of the children.

“We still have five such children in our centre whose parents have not been traced yet,” Burney added.

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