National News

Relatives of Panama detainees protest in Swat

MINGORA: Families of 12 Pakistanis detained in Panama staged a demonstration here on Friday, demanding that the government take immediate steps to secure their release.

The protesters marched from Koza Bandai village in Kabal tehsil and gathered at the Nisaht Chowk.

Holding placards inscribed with demands for the release of their loved ones, the aggrieved families said a year ago their relatives had gone to Latin America ‘legally’ and were working in Brazil but they lost contact with them after four months.

Anwar Ali, resident of Koza Bandai, who is uncle of Habib Khan, one of the detainees, told Dawn his nephew had gone to Brazil for work with some other people of his village in early 2015.

“After four months in Brazil, we lost contact with him. We tried our best but could not trace him. Recently, he managed to call us saying he was at a deport centre in Panama,” Ali said.

He said Habib Khan was ill and his parents were concerned about his health. “We appeal to the government to take steps for release of detained Pakistanis in Panama,” he added.

Among the protesters were family members of other detainees, including Abdul Hameed, Mohammad Saeed and Irfan Khan.

They said parents of the detainees were in grief since they lost contacts with their sons.

“Under which law the Panama government has detained them for more than 10 months. They must be deported immediately so they can reunite with their families,” said Fazal Wadood, Koza Bandai nazim, who also attended the protest.

The parents appealed to the Panama government to hand over the 12 detainees to the Pakistani authorities. “We appeal to the Panama government to release our children on humanitarian basis and deport them back to Pakistan,” said Haider Ali, father of Mohammd Saeed, another detainee.

They said they had already sent an application to the interior ministry seeking its action on the matter.

Published in Dawn

Swat Photo

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