Three people trying to make their way to Iran illegally died of thirst last week after a pick-up driver abandoned them in a desolate area near Nokkundi in Chagai district. Four other people survived.
Rana Irfan, who lost a brother, a nephew and a cousin to the tragedy, complained to Taftan’s administration that Saeed, a human smuggler, suddenly started demanding Rs350,000 for each man despite agreeing earlier to a payment of Rs11,000.
“As the driver was the smuggler’s brother, he left all the seven people to fend for themselves in a forbidding place. After struggling for 36 hours to find a road or an inhabited area where they could get drinking water, the three died one by one,” Irfan recalled, his voice choking with heartbreak.
The four other people were rescued by other smugglers and they reached their homes safely.
Khaleequr Rehman, Irfan’s cousin, was laid to rest in Wazirabad, Gujranwala district, while the body of Hafiz Muhammad Bilal, Irfan’s nephew, was temporarily buried where he breathed his last. The body of his brother, Mohammad Sajjad, remained untraced.
Mr Irfan appealed to the authorities to help him in retrieving the bodies of his brother and nephew as he could not afford the expenditure.
Nokkundi Tehsildar Muhammad Hashim Kurd said one unidentified body had been brought to the rural healthcare centre. Asked whether the administration would take action against the alleged human smugglers, Mr Kurd said he had not received any such complaint.