US Responds to Detention of Pakistani Social Activist Sarim Burney

US Responds to the Arrest of Sarim Burney


Karachi: In response to the detention of Pakistani social activist Sarim Burney, the United States has stated that preventing crimes such as human trafficking, child trafficking, and illegal adoptions are areas of mutual interest for both Pakistan and the US.

A spokesperson for the US State Department emphasized that the US takes its responsibility seriously to ensure protective measures are in place for children and families involved in inter-country adoption processes.

In response to a question from Geo News, the spokesperson said, “We appreciate the cooperation of Pakistani authorities on these issues.”

FIA officials arrested Sarim Burney at Karachi Airport upon his return from the US.

He has been charged with smuggling children from Pakistan to the US.

On Wednesday, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested human rights activist and philanthropist Sarim Burney at Karachi airport upon his return from abroad. He is accused of “child trafficking through illegal adoption” following a complaint by US authorities.

An FIA official stated that the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell (AHTC) of FIA-Karachi has registered a case (FIR No. 126/2024) against Mr. Burney. He is charged under Sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code. Additionally, he faces charges under Sections 3 (trafficking in persons), 4 (aggravating circumstances), and 5 (abetment and criminal conspiracy) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018.

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According to the FIR, “Sarim Burney and his associates Basalat Ali Khan, Humaira Naz, and others, in collusion with each other, knowingly and willfully provided false information, made misdeclarations, and concealed facts before the Honorable Family Courts of District East Karachi under the guise of illegal adoption/guardianship of three baby girls by using and providing fraudulent documents.”

It is stated that the suspects’ claim that “the three baby girls in question were orphans and found outside the gate of M/s Sarim Burney Trust, and efforts were made to find their parents, but no one came forward to claim them” is inconsistent with the facts.

The FIA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the US Consulate General had stated in its complaint that during the last one and half years, around 17-18 children had been adopted in the US but the adoption process was ‘illegal’.

Expanding on the matter, the official explained that these children were not legally declared as abandoned (lawaris).

According to relevant laws, only children officially abandoned by their families are eligible for adoption.

Nevertheless, the FIA had identified three children, and an FIR had been filed regarding their adoption, the official further stated.

Click Fact Book on Sarim Burney

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