British boy Sahil finally home after kidnap ordeal
19 March, 2010
MANCHESTER: A five-year-old British boy arrived back home on Thursday and reunited with his mother after a 12-day kidnap ordeal in Pakistan which triggered an international police operation.
Sahil Saeed and his parents briefly posed for pictures outside their home in the town of Oldham after the boy flew back to England with his father from Islamabad. His mother Akila Naqqash kissed her son and held him in her arms, while he hid his face from the waiting media.
He flew into the Manchester airport in northern England with his father, Raja Naqqash Saeed, with whom he was reunited in Islamabad earlier on Thursday following a ransom payment. Earlier in Islamabad, the British boy boarded a flight home from Pakistan on Thursday after being reunited with his father following a 12-day kidnapping ordeal.
Sporting a new haircut, Sahil Saeed kicked a football around the lawn of the British high commissionerís residence in Islamabad, joined by a little girl playmate, and was smothered in hugs and kisses from relatives.
Smiling and waving as he was cuddled by his relieved father, Sahil seemed in high spirits and gulped down a drink brought out by a member of the household staff, television footage showed.
The emotional reunion came after his father, Raja Naqqash Saeed, flew back to Pakistan to collect his son and return him to Britain, days after the boy’s uncle dropped off a 168,000 dollars ransom in Paris.
“I am completely overjoyed that I have been reunited with my son after such a long ordeal,” the father said in a statement released by the high commission. “Sahil is doing well, is in good spirits and can’t wait to return to the UK to see his mum, his family and join his friends back at school,” he added, thanking British and Pakistani authorities for assisting in his son’s return.
The father, son and an uncle took off for Manchester aboard Pakistan International Airlines flight at 3:15 pm, PIA official Mohammad Imran told AFP. Saeed’s mother Akila Naqqash, who spoke to her son by telephone from her home in Oldham, northern England, promised him a “big party” on his return.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown thanked Pakistan for helping secure Sahil’s release. Pakistani authorities, helped by British officials, launched a hunt for the boy after he was abducted from Jhelum home 12 days ago.
A Pakistani man and a Romanian woman, who have been charged with murder and are awaiting trial, were among five people arrested by police on Tuesday. The couple travelled from the northeastern Spanish town of Constanti, which has a large Pakistani community, to Paris to collect the ransom. They were arrested on their return to Spain.
Another Pakistani man was arrested in Constanti while French police detained two family members of the man who went to Paris for being accomplices. They had put up the couple at their Paris apartment. The authorities made the arrests once they were informed that Sahil had been recovered in Pakistan and was safe, said the head of the Spanish policeís economic and violent crime unit, Serafin Castro.
Police found nearly 104,000 pounds and over 3,000 euros in the coupleís flat in Constanti as well as several mobile telephones, including one used to make calls to the boyís father in Paris, and a new computer.
Moreover, Pakistan’s envoy to Britain Wajid Shams-ul-Hassan has said the kidnappers are believed to have known his family and had a grudge against them. “The people that have been arrested in Pakistan, they must have known the family well,” he said to Britainís private TV channel on Thursday, adding, “they have had some kind of grudge against them which is why they kidnapped the child and tried then to blackmail the father.”