A street celebrates as a little boy, unaware of what the fuss is about, comes home

Back with his mother, Sahil Saeed will enjoy a tender readjustment to normal life

Clinging to his mother's shoulder and rubbing his eyes, a very tired Sahil Saeed was back at his home last night, safe and well after his kidnap ordeal. The five-year-old was brought out by his parents for the briefest of photo calls in which he sleepily endured a blaze of flashlights and shouted questions from reporters.

All day the terraced house in Oldham, Greater Manchester, had filled with a steady stream of friends and relatives bringing sweets and gifts. All were eager to be there when the youngster arrived.

As he was carried in, draped in his father's overcoat, there were gasps and cheers from inside. Banners and balloons had been hung out to greet him. The mood inside was said to be "quiet but very happy".

Sahil's aunt, Naila Wasseem, said: "We are ecstatic. For 13 days, all we have done is non-stop praying. Now the mood's totally changed. I think today is going to be low-key, maybe the next few days we will have a party."

Earlier the cameras had been on hand to capture the moment his plane touched down at Manchester airport shortly before 7pm. From there he was whisked away in a police convoy to be reunited with his mother, Akila Naqqash.

Relatives said yesterday they had been advised to keep celebrations as sensitive as possible to help the boy readjust to his normal life. Sahil's great-uncle Mushtak Raja said everyone was excited but conscious of what he had been through. "It is important we keep things low profile. That little boy doesn't know what has gone on and we have to make sure he avoids the news. He was very happy seeing his father and enjoyed playing football with him this morning," he said. Susan Winn, a neighbour, said everyone in the street was delighted. "Akila is over the moon – we all are."

Sahil travelled home business class with his father and uncle on a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Islamabad. The three were chauffeur-driven through the streets of the Pakistan capital in a diplomatic car and taken straight on to the runway to board the plane.

Mr Saeed flew into Islamabad early yesterday, where he was reunited with his son at the home of the British High Commissioner. The pair were filmed playing football on the lawn of the residence and Sahil, prompted by his father, said: "Mummy, I miss you. Mummy, I love you." He had earlier spoken on the phone to his mother, who has spent the last two weeks watching events unfold from the family home with the couple's two daughters, aged four and 21 months.

In a statement Mr Saeed applauded the international operation to rescue his son. "Sahil is doing well, is in good spirits, and can't wait to return to the UK to see his mum, his family, and join his friends back at school. I would like to pay tribute to the tireless efforts of the Pakistani and UK authorities that resulted in the safe return of Sahil to us. I would also like to thank everyone for their messages of support that my family and I have received over the last two weeks."

Gordon Brown, on a visit to a new cancer treatment unit in Sahil's home town, welcomed the boy's return. "People, of course, are very, very happy that this potentially tragic story is ending in Sahil coming back to our country today," he said. "We will be offering our good wishes to the family."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works