ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Friday dispelled an impression given in media reports that the most migrants were Pakistanis, drowned off the coast of Libya after a smuggler’s boat capsized.
The FO spokesperson confirmed that up to 11 Pakistani nationals drowned in the incident.
Taking exception to media reports, Dr Faisal said the Pakistani diplomats in Tripoli visited the coast to garner the details. “11 Pakistanis feared dead in boat sinking incident off the Libyan coast and the FO would share the details of deceased soon,” the spokesperson said on his official Twitter account.
Eleven Pakistanis feared dead in boat sinking incident off the coast of Libya. Pak Embassy in Tripoli actively following up. Names and details of the deceased will follow as soon as Foreign Office gets them from Tripoli.
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) February 2, 2018
Earlier, it was reported that as many as 90 migrants were feared dead as result of boat sinking incident.
International media cited a foreign migration body officer as saying, “the survivors informed the aid workers that most of the migrants on board were Pakistanis.”
At least three people survived the tragedy, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokeswoman said.
Earlier security officials in the western Libyan town of Zurawa said two Libyans and one Pakistani had been rescued from the boat. It said 10 bodies had been recovered, mostly Pakistani, but gave no further information.
Zurawa, located near Libya’s border with Tunisia, is a favoured site for migrant boat departures.
Libya is the main gateway for migrants trying to cross to Europe by sea, though numbers have dropped sharply since July as Libyan factions and authorities – under pressure from Italy and the European Union – have begun to block departures.
More than 600,000 people are believed to have made the journey from Libya to Italy over the past four years.