Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday directed the Foreign Office to gather “facts” on the reported drowning of over two dozen Pakistanis in Italy so the nation could be taken into confidence on the tragedy.
“The reports of the drowning of over two dozen Pakistanis in a boat tragedy in Italy are deeply concerning and worrisome,” he wrote in a posting on Twitter. “I have directed Foreign Office to ascertain facts as early as possible and take the nation into confidence,” he added.
On Sunday, at least 59 migrants—including reportedly 28 Pakistanis—died after their overloaded boat sank in stormy seas off Italy’s southern Calabria region. “As of a few minutes ago, the number of confirmed victims was 59,” Vincenzo Voce, mayor of the coastal city of Crotone, told TV channel Sky TG24 Sunday afternoon. The Pakistani embassy in Rome told the Reuters news agency that 40 Pakistanis had been on the boat when it capsized, adding that 28 bodies had been recovered but 12 people were still missing.
“We are closely following the reports about possible presence of Pakistanis in the vessel that has capsized off the coast of Italy,” read a statement issued by the Foreign Office. “The Embassy of Pakistan in Rome is in the process of ascertaining facts from the Italian authorities,” it added.
The capsized boat, per government officials, had departed from Izmir in Turkey a few days back and was carrying migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Iran.