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Rights activist Sarim Burney held in Karachi on ‘human trafficking complaint by US’

Courtesy: Dawn News

KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday arrested human rights activist and philanthropist Sarim Burney when he arrived at Karachi airport from abroad for his alleged involvement in “child trafficking by way of illegal adoption” on the complaint of US authorities.

An FIA official said that the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell (AHTC) of the FIA-Karachi registered a case (FIR No. 126/2024) against Mr Burney under Sections 420 (Cheating and dishonestly, inducing delivery of property), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (Using as genuine a forged document), 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Sections 3 (trafficking in persons), 4 (aggravating circumstances) and 5 (abetment and criminal conspiracy) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018.

According to the FIR, “Sarim Burney and his associates Basalat Ali Khan, Humaira Naz and others, in collusion with each other knowingly and wilfully gave false information, made misdeclaration as well as concealment of the facts before the Hon’ble Family Courts District East Karachi in the garb of illegal adoption/guardianship of three baby girls by using and providing fraudulent documents.”

It stated that the statement by the suspects that “the three baby girls in question were orphans and found from outside the gate of M/s Sarim Burney Trust and it tried level best to find their parents but no person came forward for claiming them” was contrary to the facts.

The FIA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the US Consulate General had stated in its complaint that during the last one and half years, around 17-18 children had been adopted in the US but the adoption process was ‘illegal’.

Elaborating, the official said that these children were not declared as lawaris (abandoned). As per laws concerned, only children abandoned by their families can be adopted.

However, the FIA had traced three children and the FIR had been registered about their adoption, the official added.

1- Header image: Human rights activist and philanthropist Sarim Burney. — X/@SBTIOfficial

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