India helps free two Pakistani sailors

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 29, 2012 15:10 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) Indian officials, accompanying five Indian sailors freed from Somali pirates, also lent a helping hand to two Pakistani seafarers who were also onboard the hijacked cargo ship MV Iceberg-1.

In a humanitarian gesture, the aircraft sent to bring back the Indians "also brought along the Pakistani seafarers till Salalah in Oman, the last stop of the aircraft outside India", said informed sources Saturday.

The Panama-flagged MV Iceberg-1 and 22 seafarers were freed from Somali pirates after more than two and a half years in captivity in Puntland before Christmas.

India's High Commissioner in Islamabad Sharat Sabharwal informed the Pakistani authorities and requested them to "send their officials to take over their nationals at Salalah", the source said.

"Since no Pakistani Consulate is located in Salalah, a respected member of the Pakistani community there was entrusted the responsibility by Pakistani authorities to take charge of the two Pakistani seafarers," the source said.

The freed Indian sailors reached New Delhi Saturday evening, said the source.

Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney tweeted: "After three years of very painful period with Somalian pirates, two Pakistanis, Gul Bacha and Ali Mohammad reached their home in Swat."

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