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Apr 04, 2009 at 09:23pm IST

35 found dead from container in Pak

Quetta, Pakistan: Police say at least 35 illegal migrants died of suffocation inside a shipping container found in southwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.

Rasool Bakhsh, a senior police official in the city of Quetta, said the container had entered Pakistan from Afghanistan and was headed for Iran. He said most of the victims were Afghans.

Southwestern Pakistan lies on a well-trodden route for traffickers smuggling young men from poverty-afflicted countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan hoping to find work and prosperity in Europe and elsewhere.

BRUTAL END: People gather beside the dead bodies of the illegal migrants at a local hospital in Quetta.

More than 100 people were inside the metal container when police opened it on a tip-off, Bakhsh. Some were taken to hospital unconscious and the death toll could rise, he said.

Officials ordered an investigation.