Karachi, May 16, 2012 (PPI-OT): Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan said on Tuesday all the arrangements have been finalised to secure the release of the crew of merchant navy ship, MV Al-Bedo, from the captivity of Somali pirates, and they are in contact with pirates for the purpose.
Talking to the media along with the family members of the hostages of Al-Bedo at the Governor House, he thanked President Asif Zardari, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain, noted social personalities Malik Muhammad Riaz and Arif Naqvi for their cooperation which, he said, has enabled them that the release of captives is becoming possible. Ebad hoped that the hostages will return home very soon.
About the release of Dr Khalil Chishti from imprisonment in India, he said it became possible due to sustained efforts by President Zardari, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, and human rights activist Ansar Burni.
He said Indian film director Mahesh Bhat has played an important role in the release of Dr Chishti.
The Governor said the families of the hostages have been going through very trying time during the last 18 months when the pirates hijacked the ship.
Ebad said the families of the hostages contacted him after the owner of the hijacked ship did not give any response to them.
The Governor said they firmly ensured that pirates would not be paid any ransom, and then persuaded the pirates they will only be paid the amount for the expenses they incurred during the hijacking period.
He said, besides the foreign ministry, they were also in contact with the Malaysian government, adding success has been achieved due to the cooperation of diplomats and businessmen.
The Governor said appeals were earlier made for collecting money demanded by pirates but the collected amount was not enough. Later, he said, President Zardari was contacted for the purpose who promptly reviewed his request and helped arrange the money.
Ebad said the deadline given by the Somali pirates has ended today (Tuesday) and “we have informed the pirates that the money demanded by them has been arranged”.
He MQM chief Altaf Hussain also took personal interest in this issue and asked him to secure the release of the hostages at the earliest. The Governor said Muhammad Riaz and Arif Naqvi have extended substantial financial support as they did earlier for the release of hostages from the captivity of Somali pirates.
For more information, contact:
Sindh Governor House
Syed Wajahat Ali
Press Secretary to Governor
Tel: 99201217, 99201201-3