Tragic Shipwreck off Coast of Italy Claims Lives of 64, Including Pakistani Hockey Player
On Sunday, a tragic shipwreck off the coast of Italy took the lives of 64 people, including Pakistani international hockey player Shahida Raza. The 29-year-old, commonly known as Chintu, was a professional hockey player for Pakistan's national team as well as Balochistan United, and Pakistan Railways. Following the news of her death, members of the country's hockey federation and Aurat March, a prominent women's right movement in Pakistan, paid tribute to her and expressed their condolences to her family.
The Foreign Office (FO) later confirmed that seven Pakistani nationals had drowned in a boat wreck near Libya’s port city of Benghazi. FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that the embassy of Pakistan in Libya was facilitating the process of identification of the bodies, with support from local authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Hazara community in Quetta, which has been the target of fatal attacks in the past, expressed deep sorrow and outrage over the incident, and community leaders urged the government to take measures to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has also launched an investigation into the network of traffickers responsible for sending Pakistani migrants abroad. The agency has reportedly formed several teams of investigators and is expecting to arrest some suspected traffickers. A judicial source also said that one of the Pakistanis arrested was a minor, and that police were looking for a fourth suspect, who is Turkish.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch announced that two Pakistanis had lost their lives in the tragic incident, as identified by their families. She also said that the embassy and Foreign Affairs Ministry were in contact with the families of the deceased. Baloch added that one more Pakistani national had been found alive, bringing the total number of Pakistani survivors to 17.
The Pakistani Embassy officials had said that there were 20 Pakistanis on the boat, and it is a tragic reminder of the dangers of illegal migration. The FO and the Pakistani Embassy in Libya remain actively engaged with the Italian authorities for the welfare of the survivors and transportation of the mortal remains of the deceased. The Pakistani government has also called for measures to be taken to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring in the future.
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