Stopping human trafficking and narcotics:
Pakistan and Greece ink cooperation agreement
* Greece passes law to legalise illegal immigrants
* Pakistan proposes meeting of Iran, Turkey and Greece to deter human smuggling
By Shahzad Raza
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Greece have agreed to cooperate in efforts to control human trafficking, fight the spread of narcotics and organised crime, and support the war against terrorism.
A nine-member delegation from Greece is visiting Pakistan.
During a meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and George Voulgarakis, Greek minister for public order, signed an agreement that called for these actions.
The two parties have formed a coordination committee to implement the agreement. The Interior Ministry secretary will represent Pakistan in the committee.
“Both countries shall cooperate and provide mutual assistance in fighting international terrorism, organised crime, production and trafficking of narcotics, illegal immigration, and illicit trafficking in human beings,” the agreement said.
“With the agreement signed today, we hope both countries enjoy friendly relations with each other,” the Greek minister told a press conference alongside Sherpao. The visiting minister added that he was grateful to have been invited by the Pakistani government.
Both ministers expressed concern about the dangers of international organised crime, illegal selling of narcotics, and human smuggling across borders.
The ministers have arranged to contact Iran and Turkey and persuade them to take measures to stop human trafficking, as these two countries are used as land routes to Greece and the rest of Europe. Pakistan proposed a meeting of all four countries to discuss the issue in Athens. Mr Voulgarakis revealed that an estimated 75,000 Pakistanis live and work illegally in Greece. Last year, Greece deported 83 illegal Pakistani immigrants and another 61 in the current year. The Greek parliament has recently passed a law to legalise illegal immigrants, the Greek minister said.
Mr Voulgarakis praised Pakistan’s role in the war against terror and claimed that strengthening relations with Greece would help Pakistan reinforce its ties with the European Union. Signing the agreement was historical and would counter international and other threats being faced by the two countries, he added.
He said that both countries would try to increase cooperation in several other fields, including forensic technology, methods of criminology research and prevention of illegal immigration. He also said that cultural and social exchanges would be increased between the two countries, as well as sports. It was suggested that both countries would cooperate in the prevention of crime and the maintenance of civil order through mutual agreements.
The ministers also decided to share intelligence in border and passport control in order to detect forged/altered documents and prevent illegal entry. The director generals of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), officials of the immigration and passports cells gave detailed presentations to the visiting delegation.