Kidnap boy Sahil Saeed on way back to UK from Pakistan

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The five-year-old boy freed by kidnappers in Pakistan after his family paid a £110,000 ransom is on his way home, sources said today.





Sahil Saeed and his father Raja Naqqash Saeed are believed to be on a plane back to Manchester from Islamabad.



The five-year-old was released on Tuesday after being snatched at gunpoint in Pakistan two weeks ago.



He was reunited with members of his family, including his father, at the home of the British High Commissioner today.



Footage released of the reunion showed Sahil sending a message to his mother back home.



Prompted by his father, the five-year-old said: "Mummy, I miss you. Mummy, I love you."



A spokesman for the commission said: "Everyone was in very good spirits and of course delighted about his return.



"Sahil was playing football with his father in the garden and seemed really happy."









A statement released by Mr Saeed said he was "completely overjoyed" at being reunited with his son.

The statement continued: "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 course of the last two weeks.



"As we return back to the UK, I ask that the media shows restraint and respects our family's privacy as we spend some quality time with Sahil."









The pair were on holiday with other relatives in Jhelum in the Punjab region when Sahil was snatched by gunmen on March 4.

He was found by locals wandering alone in a field around 15 miles away on Tuesday and handed over to police.



The boy was looked after by British officials while his father travelled from the family home in Oldham, Greater Manchester.



Last night details emerged about the abduction and the police investigation, which involved Pakistani, UK, French and Spanish officers.



Spanish police said Sahil's father went to Paris to pay a £110,000 ransom for his release.



Surveillance officers watched him make the transfer, saw the recipients divide up the cash, and later swooped on a number of suspects, according to a police statement.



After the youngster was freed, three people - two Pakistani men and a Romanian woman - were arrested when police raided a flat in Constanti, around 60 miles from Barcelona. About £105,000 in cash was also recovered.



Two of the suspects were followed from Paris, and all three are due to appear in court in Spain today.



Two other people, accused of helping the kidnappers, were also arrested in the French capital.



A £100,000 ransom demand for Sahil's safe return emerged shortly after the boy was taken.



Interpol alerted Spanish authorities to the abduction and discovered the first call demanding a ransom was made from Spain. A series of other calls were made from the country.



Mr Saeed, 28, returned to Manchester four days after the abduction as instructed by the kidnappers, but was then told to go to Paris with the money.



Police were watching when the cash was handed over on a street in the French capital and began monitoring the suspects as they waited for news of the child's release, Spanish police said.



Mr Saeed's return to the UK was reportedly against the wishes of Pakistani police, who wanted him to stay in the country as a witness.



After he came back, Greater Manchester Police said he was working with them to try to recover Sahil.



The boy's extended family reportedly rallied round to raise the ransom demand, selling jewellery and heirlooms.



Sahil's mother, Akila Naqqash, 31, spoke this week of her joy after hearing that her boy was safe.



Speaking from the family home in Oldham, she said: "I need to see him with my own eyes to believe it. The police are looking after him. We are just watching the news. We are not travelling out there.



"He will fly back but we don't know when yet."



Mrs Naqqash, who also has two daughters aged four and 21 months, said she would give him "a big kiss and cuddles" on his return.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on a visit to a new cancer treatment unit in Sahil's home town Oldham, welcomed the boy's return to the UK.



Mr Brown said: "I do think it is very good news. After 12 days, Sahil will be able to return to this country.



"I know he's been re-united with his father at the British High Commission. I think we have got to recognise the exceptional role played by Greater Manchester Police and thank the Pakistan government.



"This is a co-ordinated effort to help a young boy, only five and separated from his family and now reunited with his father.



"People, of course, are very, very happy that this potentially tragic story is ending in Sahil coming back to our country today.



"We will be offering our good wishes to the family.



"It's obviously been a very anxious time for everybody and the whole country has been following this sad episode, where a five-year-old to be separated from his family is really a very terrible experience.



"We have got to have some understanding of what people have been going through, particularly Sahil, who hopefully will get back to enjoying his life."



Some of the kidnappers were "perhaps known to the family", a Pakistani government official said today.



Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the Pakistani High Commissioner in London, told Sky News: "This is what the authorities and investigators in Pakistan believe.



"The people that have been arrested in Pakistan, they must have known the family well.



"They have had some kind of grudge against them which is why they kidnapped the child and tried then to blackmail the father."



Pakistani police arrested a number of people after Sahil was taken.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own