"Sarim Burney, human rights activist, arrested by FIA for alleged child trafficking."

“US Complaint Leads to Sarim Burney’s Arrest in Karachi”

Arrest of Sarim Burney

On Wednesday, prominent human rights activist and philanthropist Sarim Burney was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) upon his arrival at Karachi airport. Burney faces serious allegations involving “child trafficking by way of illegal adoption,” following a complaint lodged by US authorities. His arrest marks a significant development in ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking.

Details of the Case

The FIA’s Anti-Human Trafficking Cell (AHTC) registered a case against Sarim Burney, identified as FIR No. 126/2024, citing multiple sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018. The charges include:

  • Section 420: Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.
  • Section 468: Forgery for the purpose of cheating.
  • Section 471: Using as genuine a forged document.
  • Section 109: Abetment.

Additionally, the case involves:

  • Section 3: Trafficking in persons.
  • Section 4: Aggravating circumstances.
  • Section 5: Abetment and criminal conspiracy.
Allegations of Illegal Adoption

According to the FIR, Sarim Burney and his associates, including Basalat Ali Khan and Humaira Naz, are accused of submitting false information and misrepresenting facts before the Family Courts in Karachi’s District East. They allegedly concealed the truth under the pretense of illegal adoption and guardianship of three baby girls using fraudulent documents.

The FIR claims that the suspects falsely stated that the three baby girls were orphans found outside the gate of the Sarim Burney Trust, and despite efforts to locate their parents, no one came forward to claim them. This assertion has been challenged by the FIA, which contends that the information provided was contrary to the facts.

US Authorities’ Involvement

The case against Sarim Burney has international implications. The US Consulate General filed a complaint, revealing that approximately 17-18 children had been illegally adopted in the US over the past one and a half years. The US authorities’ concern stems from the adoption process, which they allege did not comply with legal requirements.

The FIA official elaborated that the children in question were not legally declared lawaris (abandoned), a critical stipulation for adoption under relevant laws. Only children who are abandoned by their families can be adopted legally, a criterion allegedly not met in these cases.

Tracing and Investigation

The FIA has so far traced three children involved in the adoption process and has registered the FIR concerning their illegal adoption. The ongoing investigation aims to uncover the full extent of the alleged trafficking network and determine the involvement of all suspects.

Implications and Public Reaction

Sarim Burney’s arrest has sent shockwaves through the community of human rights activists and philanthropists in Pakistan. Burney, known for his extensive work in human rights advocacy, faces severe charges that, if proven, could lead to significant legal consequences. The case highlights the complexities and challenges in regulating and monitoring adoption processes, especially when they cross international borders.


The arrest of Sarim Burney on charges of human trafficking by way of illegal adoption underscores the importance of strict adherence to legal protocols in adoption processes. The involvement of US authorities and the subsequent actions by the FIA demonstrate a collaborative effort to address and curb human trafficking. As the investigation unfolds, the need for transparency and accountability in adoption practices becomes increasingly evident.

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