TRIPOLI: The bodies of the 12 Pakistani refugees who drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea will be sent back to Pakistan, according to the Libyan officials.
According to the Press TV, the bodies of the deceased Pakistanis have been recovered and brought to a morgue in the capital Tripoli, awaiting repatriation.
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokesperson Olivia Headon on Friday informed reporters about the incident after a boat carrying migrants had capsized off the coast of Zuwara.
According to initial reports, at least 90 people were feared dead in the incident. Two survivors managed to save their lives by swimming to the shore while another was rescued by a fishing boat, reports added.
Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal had said Saturday that the bodies of 16 Pakistanis have been recovered after a boat carrying migrants capsized near the Libyan coast in the early hours of Friday.
Faisal had also said that eight bodies have been identified with the help of documents while four others were identified with the help of their friends; though their documents were not yet found. He had further said that the identity papers of six other individuals have also been retrieved in the rescue operations but the bodies were still missing.
All the victims belonged to different areas of the Punjab province, including, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujrat, Rawalpindi and Sargodha. Similar cases have also been reported in the past where people belonging to Punjab have lost their lives in an attempt to cross over into Europe in the hope of a better future.
The Mediterranean Sea route that connects Libya with Italy is one of the most treacherous routes and poses extreme danger to the lives of the migrants. Nevertheless, the route accounts for around 65 per cent crossings into Europe. According to IOM, more than 6,600 migrants and refugees have managed to set foot in Europe since the beginning of this year.