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South Asia-Middle East: Ransoming job seekers: 20 young men being held captive in Turkey for ransom

Monday 9 May 2016, by siawi3


May 02, 2016, 5:33 pm

Amraiz Khan

GUJRANWALA: My younger brother Zaman was crying loudly. During the phone call he at times screamed as if in great pain of being tortured at the time by the people who were holding him captive for ransom. It was unbearable to hear the screams.

A visibly disturbed Dr Muhammad Awais, a resident of DC Colony Gujranwala told The Nation while describing how the human traffickers contacted him for ransom on phone from Turkey. “Brother immediately pay ransom money to the local people otherwise these people will kill me. These were the words of Zaman that disturbed us,†Dr Awais said.

Dr. Awais real brother of a victim Zaman Arshad registered complaint with the FIA Gujranwala. After investigation it came to surface that more than 20 young people are in illegal detention of human traffickers’ racket in Turkey that is being run by a smuggler of Lala Musa district. A new form of human trafficking has surfaced in upper Punjab wherein human traffickers keep job seekers in their illegal detention abroad and demand ransom for their release.

“We have busted the gang arresting its two members and shortly will arrest the ring leader also,†Javed Ghuman SHO Anti Human Trafficking Cell Gujranwala said.

In his application Dr Awais said that during first week of April 2016 his brother Zaman met with a human smuggler Irfan Ullah, resident of Kotly Peer Ahmad Shah, who made his brother talk to one Danyal Butt in Turkey. Danyal enticed Zaman of better future in Canada, America and other European destinations through legal routes after reaching Turkey. For this Danyal demanded Rs. 300,000 initially and said that rest of the amount he will have to pay after reaching his desired destination.

“My brother left home on April 07 and Irfan referred him to one Atta Baloch, resident of Quetta who managed his Pak-Iran border crossing†, Dr. Awais said.

He said that on April 14, he received a telephone call of Danyal Butt from Turkey, who threatened him that he would never see his brother again if they failed to pay ransom. Two local human smugglers Irfan and Gulfam called on Dr Awais at different times and said that they will receive the money as discussed with Danyal Butt.

“I was worried after receiving calls from different people since they were demanding money separately and were also increasing amount from Rs. 300,000 to Rs 500,000 to each of them†, Dr Awais who had already informed the FIA said.

Dr. Awais said he asked the smugglers to come and get their ransom money. FIA staff was waiting for arrival of accused. When Gulfam and Irfan came to get money they were nabbed by the FIA.

Dr Awais believed that accused Irfan was a hardened criminal since his phone calls record showed that he made 10,000 international calls during last four months. Accused has strong connections in Afghanistan, India, Turkey, Greece, Iran and European countries.

Dr Awais is an MBBS doctor and his father was PhD doctor while his brother is post graduate. “The accused are threatening my family to take the case back but we will not do so,†he maintained.

FIA officer Javed Ghuman said the arrest of Gulfam and Irfan who had come to collect ransom money for ring leader Danyal Butt and two other gang members Hafiz Babar Mukhtar and Sohail Butt.

He said the accused were members of international gang which was involved in human trafficking cum kidnapping for ransom. “In current case two young men Zaman Arshad and Bilal were sent to Turkey with the promise of lucrative jobs abroad.

“We will soon be able to get the kidnapped young men released as we have also started the process of arrest of ring members living abroad through Interpol and Embassy in Turkey,†Javed said.

FIA was tracing the phone numbers through which accused contacted the family members and ring members in Gujranwala. “After collection of complete CDR from cellular company we will be able to trace the exact location of the accused in Pakistan.

“We are also tracing Haji Asim and Qasim, who are part of this ring. They manage to send the black money to the accused abroad through Hawala Hundi business†, Javed said.

He said that a case has been registered against accused under section 17/22 of (EO) 1979 and section ¾ of HTO 2002. He believed that accused will remain in custody of FIA on physical remand till the time victims will be released from Turkey since offence is not bail able.