I want my sweet son back, pleads kidnapped boy's mother

Armed gang demands £100,000 for return of five-year-old abducted in Pakistan

The mother of a five-year-old British boy kidnapped in Pakistan yesterday begged her son's captors to release him, saying: "What has he done to anyone? He's just a sweet little boy."

Sahil Saeed was kidnapped by an armed gang while on holiday with his father in Pakistan. He was taken from his grandmother's home, in the Punjab region, on the day he was due to return to his home in Oldham.

His captors are demanding a £100,000 ransom which Sahil's family say they have "no chance" of paying.

Yesterday, in an emotional television appearance from her Greater Manchester home, his mother Akila Naqqash said: "We can't do anything from here – all we can do is pray that they will bring my son back. He is a sweet boy, so bubbly and gets along with everybody.

"We have got no idea why we were targeted – we don't have any money. There is no way we could raise that money; there is nothing we can do."

When asked what she would say to the kidnappers, she added: "What has he done? He's just a five-year-old boy. Bring him back please."

Sahil and his father had been staying with the boy's grandmother in Jhelum during a two-week trip when the gang burst into the house at about 11pm local time.

The boy's father Raja Naqqash Saeed said that the four men, who had guns and hand grenades, attacked him and other relatives at the house, beating, slapping and kicking them during a six-hour ordeal.

He told Sky News: "They took me into a separate room and they tortured me. They said 'We will take your son and you will have to pay £100,000'."

They eventually fled with the boy and household items, and, it is believed, 150,000 rupees (£1,160) in cash and some jewellery. Initially the gang are reported to have told Mr Saeed that they would telephone with instructions, but that call is not thought to have been made.

It was not immediately clear what the motive behind the kidnap could have been. There is not any obvious political motive although there have been incidents of businessmen being kidnapped for ransom money in recent months.

And while many people visiting the area choose to travel with private security guards, the region is not particularly vulnerable to the Taliban.

Last night it was reported that police in Pakistan had arrested a man whom they described as the "prime suspect" – a taxi driver who came to pick the pair up from the house and drive them to the airport. The man was said to be the same driver who had collected Sahil and his father when they arrived at Rawalpindi airport last month.

But both the police and officials at the Punjab government denied that any arrests had been made in the case.

The government official added that three teams had been set up to search for the child and that early investigations had traced phone numbers that are potentially linked to suspects, one of which originated in Denmark. Sources also said that the kidnapping was "highly professional".

Mr Saeed said the kidnappers had originally put a noon deadline on the ransom for his safe return. But it is thought that deadline passed without any word from the boy's captors.

Ms Naqqash, who also has two daughters, Anisha, four, and Hafsah, 21 months, said she had heard nothing from the kidnappers. She added: "My husband would swap places if he could; he said to them: 'Take me, I'll be your hostage.' We just want him back home. I found out at 7.45am when my sister knocked on the door. I was making breakfast for my daughter. She said, 'You need to sit down I've got some bad news.'

"I broke down and thought, 'It can't be true,' so I phoned my husband and he said it was true. I just cried and cried. That was the last time I spoke to him, I can't get through to him. We haven't heard anything from the kidnappers. All we can do is wait."

And, breaking down in tears, she recalled the last time she spoke with her son. She said: "I phoned him every day of the last two weeks. When I last spoke to him he said he couldn't wait to come home and have a jacket potato – he was fed up of the chapatis. He loves jacket potatoes with sweetcorn, cucumber, salad – he is a very healthy little boy.

"He is always smiling; he has lots of friends. He is very popular at school – he loves his friends and his teachers and his school dinners. He was having such a good time out there; he was excited about going there and seeing his grandmother."

The Foreign Office said it is providing consular assistance to the family. The British High Commission in Islamabad is also involved.

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little