Passengers included Pakistani and Afghans
Boat carrying 200 passengers capsized in Indian Ocean
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (eTN) - The Pakistan Foreign Office in Islamabad confirmed that on June 21, 2012, a boat carrying more than 200 passengers capsized in the Indian Ocean between the Indonesian Island of Java and the Australian external territory of Christmas Island. The boat had Pakistani on board; in early report it was stated that Sri Lankans and Afghans were on board.
According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the boat was carrying at least 150 asylum seekers and was badly overcrowded. Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard said 123 people had been rescued, but this still left many unaccounted for.
In a press statement issued in Islamabad on Wednesday by the Foreign Office, most of the people were male and from Afghanistan, and Pushtuns from Pakistan were also on board.
So far, three Pakistani nationals, namely Mr. Muhammad Nabi, Mr. Sadiq Ali, and Mr. Mehtab Hussain, have been rescued and are in a hospital on Christmas Island, Australia. The survivors who contacted their families at the Parachinar-Kurram Agency have claimed that there are Pakistanis who are untraceable. The Australian authorities have been approached, but they have asked for information, such as date and place of birth, UNHCR registration number, photograph, details of any identification marks, whether any of their other relatives were on the boat, and the authorization of their next of kin or the closest relatives to allow sharing of personal information with the Pakistan High Commission in Canberra (Australia).
The relatives of victims are requested to share the information with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan High Commission in Australia. The relatives of the victims can also contact the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship directly on their hotline number 1300 724-010 for sharing the required information and checking on the welfare of their relatives.