ISLAMABAD: Pakistan confirmed on Saturday that 16 of its nationals have lost lives when a boat capsized off the coast of Libya Friday morning.
The Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said in a statement that 12 bodies have been recovered while bodies of four others have yet to be recovered.
Pakistan Embassy in Libya is working round the clock to repatriate the bodies, he said.
All those died belonged to Punjab province, who were being taken illegally to European countries. The foreign ministry issued details of the deceased.
The United Nations migrant agency IOM cited its Libya representative as saying that at least 90 migrants were reported to have drowned when a boat capsized off the coast of Libya Friday morning.
Olivia Headon, IOM’s representative in Libya, said that two survivors were reported to have swum to shore, while another was rescued by a fishing boat.
The tragedy comes as IOM reports that 6,624 migrants and refugees had entered Europe by sea through Jan. 28, compared with 5,983 coming ashore during a similar period in 2017.
Earlier on Thursday IOM Rome also reported that a shipwreck occurred last weekend might have killed 35 to 40 people trying to leave Libya to Europe.
These casualties bring to 246 the total number of fatalities on the Mediterranean Sea through the first month of 2018, compared with 254 at the same period last year.
The IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded more than 3,000 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean each year since 2014.