London: New tracking data has cast doubt on the Greek coastguard’s version of a migrant shipwreck, where hundreds, including scores of Pakistanis, are feared to have lost their lives, BBC reported.
The British broadcaster reported that an analysis of the movement of other ships in the area suggests that the boat remained stationary for at least seven hours before drowning.
Although the Greek authorities did not respond to BBC’s findings, they have insisted that the boat was on course to Italy and did not need rescuing.
EU’s border force Frontex said it first spotted the ship at around 8GMT and informed Greek authorities.
Alarm Phone, an emergency hotline for migrants in trouble at sea, said they received a call at 12:17 GMT saying the boat was in distress.
Authorities in Europe still have no clear idea how many people were aboard the boat when it sank — estimates range from 400 to over 700 — but likely hundreds came from Pakistan, and many from Azad Kashmir.
On Sunday, Pakistan officials said 10 suspected human traffickers had been arrested, and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif vowed “severe punishment” for those involved in the trade.
Pakistan is in economic freefall. A dire downturn — caused by decades of mismanagement and political instability — has drained dollar reserves, spurred runaway inflation and caused widespread factory closures.
The desperate situation is creating an incentive for Pakistanis to take perilous, illegal routes to Europe.
Prime Minister Sharif announced a national day of mourning for those who perished — local media say as many as 300 Pakistanis could have been aboard. Web Desk
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