UK boy kidnapped in Pakistan


Pakistani police are hopeful of catching the men who kidnapped a five-year-old British boy in central Pakistan last week, authorities said today.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik also said police have clues that indicate the crime was carried out by people close to the boy’s family, which has Pakistani origins.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Jhelum, the city where Sahil Saeed was snatched from his grandmother’s house on Wednesday night after robbers held the family at gunpoint for several hours, Mr Malik said: “We have certain leads that I would not like to discuss.”

The robbers also took some household possessions and demanded a large ransom to return the child, whose plight has received significant attention in both Pakistan and Britain.

“I am warning those abductors to release the boy because we are very near to you,” Mr Malik said.

The boy’s family has made several emotional appeals for his release, and his father, Raja Naqqash Saeed, said today that he was satisfied with the Pakistani government’s efforts after meeting with Mr Malik.

“My son will come back home safely, God willing,” Mr Saeed said during a joint appearance with the interior minister.

Saeed earlier told Sky News the kidnappers demanded £100,000 sterling in ransom. The family had been scheduled to return to Britain on Thursday before the kidnapping occurred.

The case is among a soaring number of kidnappings for ransom in Pakistan, where Taliban-led militancy and a struggling economy have fuelled crime, and most victims are Pakistani citizens.

A statement from the Foreign Office said: “Our thoughts are with Sahil and his family at this extremely distressing time. We call on whoever is holding Sahil to return him to his family.”