The 10-month ordeal ends… hostages back home

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“Thank God! I don’t have any more wishes as my father has returned safe and sound,” said 11-year-old girl Laila, while hugging her father, Captain S Wasi Hassan, for the first time in 10 months on Thursday. The young girl had burst into tears after seeing her father disembarking at the dockyard and hugged the Sindh Governor, thanking him for playing a pivotal role in the release of her father – whom she loves the most in this world.
Hassan was among the 22 crew members taken hostage by Somali pirates and released only after being paid a heavy ransom.
Talking with Pakistan Today, Laila said she could not wish more than her father returning home. “I had lost all hopes for the return of my father but I got a little hope when Governor Sindh called my family and assured us for their early release,” said the student of Class VI.
“I spent all these days sitting in front of the television and the telephone to get every update regarding the release of my father. At last my father is before me and I am so happy that I cannot explain my feelings. A time had come when I thought my father will not return but my mother and elder sisters advised me not to lose hope.”
Laila termed the worst moment – during the 10-month period – as her annual day [at school], when she sorely missed her father who always attended such functions. “I did not celebrate my birthday or festival as I had no interest in these events but now I will not let my father to go anywhere,” said the excited child.
Hassan, while talking with Pakistan Today, said Allah knows better how he spent the days without his family especially his only daughter Laila. “Until I saw Laila, I was not sure whether I had been released from the captivity of Somali pirates. I have two sons also but I missed her all the time.”
“I had lost all hopes of return but when Ansar Burney contacted us for the first time, there was a ray of hope,” said Ravinder, an Indian national from Haryana. “I am thankful to the Pakistani government for playing its role in the release of the abducted crew members.”
“Sometimes I thought about never seeing my family again and was waiting for the Somalis to shoot me [dead] over non-payment of ransom but the Pakistani government saved me,” said Ravinder, bursting into tears. The freed Egyptian nationals – who could neither understand English or Urdu – were answering ‘thank you’ to everyone at the dinner at the Governor’s House.
Translating on behalf of them, Egyptian Embassy official Tariq thanked the Sindh Governor for his efforts in the release of its citizens.