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Human Traffickers in Pakistan Escalate Brutality: Victims Endure Torture for Ransom

The treacherous business of human trafficking has sunk to new depths as ruthless smugglers exploit Pakistani immigrants seeking passage to Europe through Iran, subjecting them to harrowing ordeals and demanding ransom from their families.

In recent months, reports have surfaced of several incidents where groups of young men, aiming to reach Europe via Iran with the assistance of local agents, found themselves ensnared in a cruel cycle of captivity and torment orchestrated by these nefarious networks. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has highlighted a disturbing trend where immigrants are detained abroad by local syndicates in collaboration with international counterparts, who then extract exorbitant sums from their families for their release.

One such harrowing account involves Muhammad Husnain, along with his cousin Faisal and neighbor Anwar, who embarked on a journey from Hafizabad to Iran under the guidance of an agent named Muhammad Sarwar. Sarwar, initially promising safe passage to Europe via Turkey from Iran, demanded hefty sums from the trio upon their arrival in Tehran. When their families couldn’t meet the demands, Sarwar led them to a secluded house under false pretenses, where they were ambushed, imprisoned, and subjected to brutal torture. Their tormentors, masked and merciless, recorded the agony and sent it to their families, demanding even larger sums for their release.

Trapped in captivity, the victims endured unspeakable cruelty, with Faisal losing an ear, Anwar sustaining burns, and Husnain enduring nail-inflicted wounds on his feet. Electric shocks were routine, further adding to their torment. Despite the families’ desperate pleas, the captors escalated their brutality as ransom negotiations faltered. Eventually, a hefty sum was paid through intermediaries, securing their release, albeit in separate confinement.

As the families sought assistance, the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation and the Pakistan embassy in Tehran intervened. With the embassy’s coordination, Iranian authorities launched rescue operations, eventually locating and retrieving Faisal and Anwar, while Husnain managed a daring escape with the help of a compassionate Pakistani taxi driver.

This appalling saga extends beyond this trio, with reports of similar atrocities involving other victims from Sargodha and Islamabad. Families have been coerced into paying exorbitant ransoms, reaching as high as Rs10 million, for the safe return of their loved ones.

In response, efforts are underway to combat these criminal enterprises. The Pakistan embassy, under the leadership of Ambassador Muhammad Mudassar Tipu, has been actively engaged with Iranian authorities, advocating for swift action against human smugglers. Additionally, discussions are ongoing between the governments of Pakistan and Iran to enhance security measures for pilgrims and curb illicit trafficking.

Meanwhile, back in Pakistan, Muhammad Sarwar, the agent responsible for orchestrating the trio’s ordeal, has been apprehended by the FIA. However, the scars of this traumatic experience linger for the victims and their families, serving as a stark reminder of the horrors perpetuated by these callous traffickers.

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