LAHORE: The Punjab Police and railway authorities launched a search of trains on Friday night after a boy claimed he had jumped from a moving goods train near Sama Satta while being smuggled to some unknown city along with dozens of other boys.
The nine-year-old boy, later identified as Noshad, said he jumped from a moving goods train at Kalanch Wala near Samma Satta railway station, according to the area police. Police sources say that if they believe the boyís story, a big human smuggling network might be at work in the country in connivance with the railway officials.
Noshad told the police about 10 chained boys were put into one bogie of a goods train and 20 in another bogie at the railway station of an unknown city. Noshad, son of Niaz, a resident of Chhamb Morr in district Lodhran, said his parents had sent him to the brick kiln of Chaudhry Niaz in the suburbs of Lodhran to bring a die-cast. When he reached the kiln, three men, apparently belonging to the NWFP, gave him some intoxicating substance and he fell unconscious. When he regained senses, he was detained in a room along with other children. However, he didnít know which city they were in at that time.
According to Noshad, the captors thrashed the children at night and threatened them with death if they tried to escape or didnít obey their orders. The Samma Satta police had taken the boy to the said brick kiln late Friday night.
The railways, meanwhile, halted two goods trains at Rahim Yar Khan and Sadikabad and searched them. Sukkur railway authorities said a Bin Qasim goods train was searched at the Sadikabad railway station and a the ZBT goods train was stopped at the Rahim Yar Khan Station for the recovery of the boys.
He said almost all trains were being checked at various stations and searched for the abducted children. The Punjab IG said a gang might be involved in trafficking of children to Karachi. He said smuggling of children through train was not possible without active connivance of the railway officials.
However, the IG and various other railway officials said the children might have been shifted to some vehicle after stopping the goods train somewhere on the route to Karachi. Police sources said these children were apparently being smuggled to Karachi to make them beggars or use them for prostitution. A police official said these children could have been smuggled to Karachi for sending them to the Middle East as camel jockeys.