Families, officials welcome Pak hostages released by Somali pirates
Karachi, Aug 3 (ANI): The seven Pakistani sailors released by Somali pirates after being held hostage for 20 months, were given a warm welcome by their families and government officials in Karachi.
The sailors were released after the payment of 1.1 million dollar ransom.
The pirates captured the Pakistani crew along with 14 other South Asians and an Iranian on a Malaysia-registered ship in November 2010 in the Gulf of Aden, reports The Dawn.
Fifteen other sailors, including seven Sri Lankans, six Bangladeshis and one each from India and Iran, remain in captivity.
"The pirates had initially demanded over 10 million dollars, but our team negotiated through intermediaries and settled for over a million dollars. We generated the funds through our philanthropists, who were generous enough to donate for the cause," said Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad Khan.
Javed Saleem, the captain of the ship M V Albedo, which was seized en route to Kenya, said: "The Pakistan government made all out efforts to give us freedom, something that had become impossible even in our dreams. Those 20 months were the worst...we passed the most horrible time in our life."
Last year, Pakistan paid 2.1 million dollars to Somali pirates for the release of four of its crew along with 11 Egyptians, six Indians and a Sri Lankan.
Piracy has surged in recent years off Somalia, a lawless, war-torn country that sits alongside one of the world's most important shipping routes. (ANI)
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