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Teary eyes welcome sailors

world Updated: Jun 23, 2011 23:59 IST
MV Suez

Six Indian sailors, who were part of the 22-member crew of MV Suez vessel that was recently freed by Somali pirates, reached Karachi harbour on Thursday. Some reports said they will be returning to India on Friday.

Pakistan naval ship PNS Zulfiqar carrying the 22-member crew reached at Karachi harbour amid an emotional welcome.

Suhail Izaz Khan, counsellor from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, received the sailors.

Somali pirates released the crew of the Egyptian-owned ship, who were held by the pirates for about 10 months, after huge ransom was paid to them.

“Our gesture is the message of love. I hope that India too will reciprocate with love because Indian sailors have been also saved. I use to hear their families through media, I even talked to some of them. They were really upset,” Sindh Governor Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan said.

In India, family members of the released sailors expressed their joy at hearing the reports of their dear ones reaching Karachi.

“I am very happy to hear the news. In the last one week, there had been problems with the ship. I last spoke to my husband when he was getting on to the Pakistani ship as MV Suez was sinking,” an overjoyed Madhu Sharma, wife of sailor NK Sharma, said.

Shamsher Singh, father of another sailor Satnam Singh said he had lost hope for the return of his son.

“I had lost hope completely. But After I spoke to Ansar Burney in April, my hope was rekindled,” he said.

Burney, Pakistani human rights activist and former federal minister, was instrumental in getting the hostages released. Burney thanked all those who were involved in the operation to rescue the sailors.

The MV Suez, owned by an Egyptian company, had been first boarded by Somali pirates in August last year.