By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, April 9 (IANS) US President Joe Biden’s administration has imposed sanctions on an alleged Pakistan-based human smuggling organisation, after it was found involved and guilty for smuggling migrants to America.
In a statement, the US Treasury Department confirmed that it has blacklisted Pakistani national Abid Ali Khan and what it labelled the “Abid Ali Khan Transnational Criminal Organization”, for being a “prolific human smuggling organisation”.
The Department also blacklisted three people and one other entity associated with the organisation.
Khan was indicted on Wednesday by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia for allegedly leading the whole process of smuggling undocumented people into the US from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“Abid Ali Khan allegedly organised and leads a widespread smuggling organisation that facilitates the illegal smuggling of individuals through various countries and to the US,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
The Treasury Department stated that “the organisation has facilitated the smuggling of foreign nationals using various routes through Latin America since at least 2015”.
“Khan and members of the organisation coordinate smuggling of foreign nationals to the US for an average of $20,000 per individual.
“The organisations frequently uses a travel route that begins in Pakistan or Afghanistan and transits through several South and Central American countries before arriving at the southern border of the US, often providing fraudulently obtained passports to clients,” Treasury it added.
The decision by the Treasury department comes in the wake of a sharp increase in apprehensions on the US-Mexico border, posing serious political challenges to the new administration.
As per the sanctions, all assets of Khan and his affiliates would be frozen, while Americans will be barred from dealing with them.
Pakistan is yet to respond to this announcement by Washington.
However, the Biden administration’s decision is tantamount to a different and more rigid and strict stance, Washington is taking when it comes to dealing with Pakistan and taking its relations forward.
By Hamza Ameer