KARACHI: The Pakistan Coast Guards on Tuesday claimed to have arrested more than 70 illegal immigrants, including Afghan nationals, at Gwadar while they were attempting to enter Iran through Pakistani routes.

In a statement, the coastguards said security personnel arrested the illegal immigrants during a regular checking on Shahjahan Road.

“The arrested persons included 53 Afghans comprising 34 men, six women and 13 children,” it said.

The remaining 22 were Pakistanis who were arrested when they were attempting to enter Iran without valid visas and other documents, according to the statement. It added that they were poised to use the sea border to reach their desired destination.

This is the second such arrest made by the coastguards within the past one month, as the security agency on March 17 apprehended 103 illegal immigrants at Pasni while they were attempting to enter Iran without valid documents.

The spokesman for the coastguards said that there was a chance that criminal elements and militants made attempts to escape using the coastal belt due to the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb operation against terrorists.

“In view of the sensitive situation, the Pakistan Coast Guards has intensified checking through road checks and constituted special mobile patrolling teams in its area,” he added.

“Last month, coastguards officials apprehended 103 illegal immigrants, including 11 Afghan nationals, five Iranians and 87 Pakistanis from two different locations in Pasni.”

Under the set rules, he said, all the apprehended persons were handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for further investigation against the illegal immigrants in line with the defined laws.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2016