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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Indonesia boat capsize: Two months later, only one body brought to Quetta

By Shehzad Baloch

QUETTA: Only one body out of as many as 90 young men, missing after a boat capsize in Indonesia in November, has been brought to Quetta for burial so far.

The body Syed Kefyat Hussain, 20, was buried in a local graveyard on Alamdar Road in the provincial capital. Kefyat, the son of a schoolteacher, had wanted to go to Australia in search of better economic opportunities.

“Seventy to 90 people hailing from Quetta were onboard when the boat, bound for Australia, capsized near Java in Indonesia. But, unfortunately, after waiting for 50 days, we have received only one body,” said Mohammad Zaman, a relative of the deceased.

Most of those missing belong to the persecuted Hazara community of Quetta.

According to Pakistani officials, survivors who claim to be Pakistani nationals do not possess valid travel documents and own Afghan passports. This, they say, is making it difficult to identify the bodies.

Faisal Naeem, assistance director for relief activities at Balochistan’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority, said that most bodies are mutilated beyond recognition. “Hazara community elders have informed us that about 90 people from Quetta are among those missing but only 42 families have approached the cell established to cooperate for bringing back bodies.” Half of the families submitted fake computerised national identity cards and are Afghan nationals thus making it tough for officials to bring back bodies, he said.

He said that it would be incorrect to say that the Balochistan government isn’t cooperating with the Hazara community. “The government is in contact with Pakistan’s ambassador in Indonesia. Also, it was the government that sent a delegation of Hazara elders to Indonesia.”

Express Tribune

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