Boat capsizes near Indonesia Parachinar asylum seekers go missing
PESHAWAR, June 22: A number of asylum seekers from Parachinar have gone missing after a vessel carrying them to Australia capsized off Indonesia on Thursday, said survivors, who telephoned their families in Kurram Agency from Christmas Island.
One survivor, Mohammad Nabi, contacted his family in Parachinar, Kurram Agency’s administrative headquarters, and said he had been moved to the island for treatment on Thursday night.
His elder brother, Ayatullah, told Dawn that 27-year-old Nabi was under treatment at a hospital in Christmas Island, where the Australian government had set up detention centres for asylum seekers and other illegal immigrants.
“My brother is healthy and has been in the hospital for clinical check-up,” Ayatullah said, adding that Mr Nabi would be discharged from the hospital very soon.
Media reports said the ill-fated boat carrying around 200 people from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan sank 107 nautical miles off Bandung (Indonesia) near Christmas Island.
Teams of Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority and Indonesia Search Authority conducted operation and rescued 109 survivors and secured three bodies, while 90 others have been missing.
Mr Nabi, who reached Indonesia around three months ago for journey to Australia, told his family by phone that his vessel broke down in the sea on Wednesday night and he clang to the hull. He was rescued and shifted to Christmas Island for
treatment.A team of Australian Maritime spotted the troubled vessel and began rescue operation.
“Many residents of Kurram Agency were also on the vessel but he does not know about their fate,” brother quoted Mr Nabi as saying.
Two more survivors, Sadiq Ali and Mehtab Hussain, called their families from the hospital.
Sadiq Ali, who belongs to Shublan village in Kurram Agency, told his family that he was healthy, while two other residents of Parachinar were unconscious at the hospital. He said he had no information about other people.
A majority of youngsters were heading towards Christmas Island to seek asylum in Australia.
According to reports, five youngsters of Parachinar, Altaf Hussain, Adnan Hussain, Gulzar Hussain, Shabbir Hussain and Haris Hussain, have gone missing in the accident.
Mohammad Ashiq, a resident of Parachinar, said his nephew, Haris Hussain, who was on the vessel, had not been traced so far.
Affected families are contacting relatives and friends in Australia and Indonesia for collecting details about missing people.