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Three Pakistanis released after kidnapping in Turkey

30 March, 2017

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RAWALPINDI: Three Pakistanis abducted for ransom in Turkey earlier this month were released by their kidnappers after 23 days in captivity and are safe, the victims’ families said on Wednesday.

The victims’ relatives sought the help of authorities in Pakistan and received a call from Turkey at midnight on Wednesday informing them all three victims had been released by the kidnappers without a ransom payment and were safe.

The victims are residents of the Rawat area in Rawalpindi, and have been identified as Ghulam Fareed, Zeeshan Ahmed and Mudassir. They travelled to Turkey and were kidnapped there by unidentified individuals in early March. The kidnappers had demanded $60,000 from the victims’ families for their safe release.

A senior official from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) confirmed that the three Pakistanis had been recovered and it was up to them whether they wanted to remain in Turkey or return to Pakistan.

“The Pakistani authorities in Islamabad had taken up the issue and had been in contact with the Turkish embassy in Islamabad as well as the Pakistani embassy in Turkey and Turkish law enforcement agencies,” the FIA official said.

Turkish authorities have been questioning the victims and it has not yet been decided whether they will be sent back to Pakistan after the legal formalities have been completed.

The families of the victims were jubilant after hearing of their safe release, and were visited by a number of relatives and friends who congratulated them on the news.

Iftikhar Ahmed, whose cousin Ghulam Fareed was one of those abducted, told reporters their release came after Turkish authorities arrested two travel agents allegedly involved in the abduction. “We want them to be with us and come back to Pakistan,” Mr Ahmed said.

The mother of Zeeshan Ahmed told the media: “I am happy and thankful to God for the safe release of my son and hope he will be with us very soon.”

His uncle Mehtab Abbasi told media men they received a phone call after midnight on Wednesday that all three of the abducted Pakistanis had been released by kidnappers without a ransom payment.

He quoted his nephew as saying that they were released because the kidnappers feared police raids, and the kidnappers put them in a van and dropped them near their residences and sped off.

He said soon after the victims were released, they were taken to a hospital for medical treatment and then to a police station for legal formalities. “Soon after I spoke to Zeeshan, I informed the FIA today that our loved ones had been released by the kidnappers in Turkey,” Mr Abbasi said.

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