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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk