ISLAMABAD: At a time when human trafficking is among some of the most burning issues at the national and international levels, the performance of Anti-Human Trafficking wing of the country’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) appeared to be less than satisfactory in 2017, as the agency had arrested only five most wanted human traffickers out of 25 in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
A total of 731 cases were registered against human traffickers, however, the agency managed to arrest only 275 traffickers last year, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to the official data available with Pakistan Today, the FIA had compiled a list 19 most wanted human traffickers in Rawalpindi. However, only four were arrested last year. In Islamabad, only one human trafficker was arrested out of six.
Combined data of twin cities:
According to the data, FIA had registered 1,518 enquiries on the complaints of residents of the twin cities in 2017, including 482 from Islamabad and 1,036 from Rawalpindi. However, the agency had disposed of 437 out of 1,518 enquires as the complainants withdrew their complaints after ‘settlements’ with the accused.
The remaining 1,081 enquires were investigated and finalised, upon which 731 cases were registered against human traffickers. Furthermore, FIA registered 731 cases against human smugglers, and only 275 culprits involved in human trafficking were arrested from the twin cities, including 173 from Rawalpindi and 102 from Islamabad. The remaining human smugglers wanted in 731 cases, were still enjoying freedom of movement.
Separate data of twin cities:
The official data showed that out of 1,036 enquiries filed in Rawalpindi, FIA only finalised and investigated 609 in the last year. In Islamabad, out of 482 cases, the agency had successfully finalised 472. In addition, FIA also submitted 727 challans in the courts, including 190 from Rawalpindi and 537 from Islamabad.
The data also showed that FIA only arrested 137 proclaimed offenders (POs) and court absconders in the twin cities out of the total 1,100. However, 963 offenders were still at large as the FIA had failed to arrest them. The data further showed that 66 POs and seven court absconders were arrested by the Islamabad zone, while 52 POs and 12 court absconders were arrested by the Rawalpindi zone.
According to the data, courts convicted 422 human smugglers in the last year while the remaining were currently under trial. The court also fined the culprits Rs11.671 million.
The agency had recovered Rs98.284 million from different human traffickers who fraudulently took the money from many residents of the twin cities. Islamabad zone of the FIA recovered Rs19.416 million from human traffickers while Rawalpindi zone managed to recover Rs78.868 million.
FIA lacks manpower, resources:
An official belonging to the FIA while requesting anonymity told this scribe that FIA Rawalpindi Anti-Human Trafficking zone consisted of only 25 officials, including one deputy director, assistant director, inspector legal, four inspectors, two sub-inspectors, four head constables, two assistant sub-inspectors (investigation officers), and 10 constables.
“With this force, no one can expect a better result from the Rawalpindi zone which also covers Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Chakwal area,” the official informed.
When contacted FIA Director Shakeel Durrani said that with limited resources and lack of manpower, the anti-human trafficking wing’s performance remained satisfactory. “Anti- Human Trafficking wing is the most overburdened wing of FIA. Despite this fact, the Islamabad zone finalised 472 inquiries out of 482 in the last year,” he added.
Summary for 3,850 new recruitments:
It is noted that the newly posted FIA Director General Bashir Memon had moved a summary to the prime minister stating: “FIA was established in 1974 as a Federal Anti-Corruption Agency with the additional assignments of immigration control. Since its establishment, its workload and the mandate of the agency had kept on increasing. Since 1984, the organisation’s case load had increased by 105 percent by 2016 with minimal rise in human resource. Likewise, the immigration had seen a rise of 400 percent in passengers and allied issues.”
It also stated that some new challenging responsibilities, including the investigation of cyber crimes, terrorist investigations, terrorist financing, copyright violations, money laundering, organ transplant and blasphemy had been added to FIA mandate without proportionate increase in its resources.
In order to cater for the situation and to meet the challenging responsibilities, the prime minister was requested to approve the proposed summary for the 3,850 new recruitments along with establishing new directorates at Gilgit, Multan, and Hyderabad. “Total cost of the approval of new vacancies is Rs2.370 billion,” according to the summary available with Pakistan Today.
Human trafficking is defined in Section 2 of the Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance 2002.
Human Trafficking means obtaining, securing, selling, purchasing, recruiting, detaining, harbouring or receiving a person, not withstanding his implicit or explicit consent, by the use of coercion, kidnapping, abduction, or by giving or receiving any payment or benefit, or sharing or receiving a share for such person’s subsequent transportation out of or into Pakistan by any means whatsoever for any of the purposes laid down by the law.