GUJAR KHAN / GUJRAT, March 16: A British boy kidnapped about two weeks ago was freed unharmed on Tuesday, ending the traumatic ordeal of the family settled in the English town of Oldham.
Five-year-old Sahil Saeed was kidnapped on gunpoint from his grandparents’ home in Jhelum where he was on vacation with his father.
After receiving a call early in the morning, a police team went to Channan village in Gujrat district and found the boy standing near a petrol pump. The kidnapers had left him in a field, regional police chief Mohammad Aslam Tareen said.
He told journalists in Jhelum that the kidnappers had been under immense pressure to free the boy unharmed because of efforts of police and other law-enforcement agencies and active cooperation extended by the Greater Manchester Police of Britain.
The boy was handed over to officials of the British high commission who took him to Islamabad. The police official said a medical officer had examined Sahil and found him physically fit and confident.
He thanked the British government for its help and said that the boy’s recovery was only the first stage in resolving the case and further investigations were under way.
There have been reports that the boy was freed after payment of ransom, but Mr Tareen said he had no information about it.
Journalists saw the child engrossed in playing games on a cellphone at the Jhelum police rest-house. Officials of the British high commission and police did not allow anyone to take his photograph. Mr Tareen said Sahil’s parents would arrive from the UK in a couple of days and the boy would be reunited with them at the British high commission.
According to Jhelum district police chief Dr Mohammad Azam, the boy’s overjoyed mother Akila Naqqash spoke to him on telephone from Oldham and Sahil inquired about his two sisters and other members of the family.
Sahil was kidnapped on March 3 by a group of gunmen who had barged into the house minutes before he and his father Raja Naqqash Saeed were to board a taxi for the Islamabad airport to catch a flight for the UK.
The men also looted valuables from the house. Before taking away the child, they reportedly demanded a ransom of 100,000 pounds for his release. According to some reports, Sahil’s father received a call from Spain after the incident.
At least eight people, including the driver of the taxi, were rounded up by police who claimed that they had significant leads about the identity of the criminals. Raja Naqqash quietly flew to the UK on March 9 and, according to media reports, worked with the Manchester police to get his son freed.
Denying reports that the kidnapping was an insider’s job, the boy’s grandfather Mohammad Basharat Raja said that no member of the family was involved. He also denied that any ransom had been paid in or outside Pakistan.
However, sources claimed that the ransom had been paid abroad. They said plain-clothed policemen had been deployed in areas around the place where the boy had been found.
AFP adds: Sahil’s mother told BBC radio in Oldham that he appeared unperturbed by his ordeal. “I talked to him on the phone and I thought ‘that’s my little boy’, that’s enough for me. The way he spoke to me was normal, like a normal little boy.”
She said he had asked about his sisters and remarked how much he was missing his favourite toy. Akila Naqqash said: “I am just waiting for my little boy to come back. No more crying, I just want to have a big party.”
Source: Pakistan Dawn
Where is the 6-year old girl, Mahnoor Fatima, whose poor family can't pay a ransom?