Seven Pakistan hostages onboard merchant ship MV Albedo, which has been in the captivity of Somali pirates since November 2010, have been released and would be reaching Karachi Thursday night, announced Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad at a press conference late Wednesday night.
According to the governor, the seven Pakistanis were taken to Nairobi after their release. The remaining 15 crewmembers, including seven Bangladeshis, six Sri Lankans, one Indian and an Iranian remain in pirates’ custody.
The Somali pirates had demanded Rs320 million for the release of the crew and vessel, which was captured in the Indian Ocean. The Pakistani government had agreed to pay Rs160 million. The remaining amount was to be paid by the Malaysian government since the vessel is owned by a Malaysian citizen. However, it is unclear how much money was paid in the end for the Pakistani hostages’ release.
Zardari welcomes release
President Asif Ali Zardari has welcomed the release of Pakistani sailors from Somali captivity.
In a telephonic conversation with Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad late on Wednesday night, the President appreciated and thanked all the individuals, organisations and his Governor for efforts to secure the release of Pakistani nationals.
He said that it was a good omen that the captured Pakistanis will be finally returning home and would be able to celebrate the forthcoming Eid and Independence Day with their families and fellow compatriots.
The President reiterated the need for joint effort against such elements so that such incidents of abduction could be avoided in the future.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2012.