Pilgrims Kidnapped Close to Pak-Iran Border

On Sunday, several armed men kidnapped nearly six Shia pilgrims in close proximity of the Pak-Iran border. This incident occurred in the Panjgur district of Balochistan. It was reported that these pilgrims, who belong to Karachi, were coming in from Iran. 

The initial investigation conducted revealed that when the pilgrims were only 3km away from the city of Panjgur, some unknown kidnappers first chased and then stopped them. Amongst the pilgrims abducted close to the border are Mehdi Raza, the son of Ghulam Sakhi, along with Habibullah, the son of Raees, Imran, son to Manzoor, Sikandar, another son of Ghulam Sakhi’s, and Hussain, the son of Habib. 

Sources revealed that all six pilgrims had spent the last 50 days or so in Mashhad, a city in Iran. They had been on their way back to Karachi when they were ambushed. The perpetrators left behind the two women traveling with the six pilgrims. 

Each year, a significant number of Shia pilgrims belonging to different parts of Pakistan use the Taftan border to cross into Iran. 

The country shares a border with Iran which is more than 900 kilometers. It is common knowledge that human traffickers often use the unfrequented routes of the border to make their way into Iran. This is done primarily by those who are looking for a way into Europe. 

Every year, thousands of poverty-hit people try to cross the border to Iran to head to European countries. However, most of them are unable to make it past the authorities in Turkey and Iran, who keep strict checks on the people entering through the border.

Iran and Pakistan previously established a joint border commission. They also hold regular meetings after three-month intervals to talk about any border-related issues that they may have.