Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pakistan Wins Release of Indian and Pakistani Sailors

In a humanitarian gesture, Pakistan raised funds to help secure the release of 22 sailors, including 11 Egyptians, 6 Indians, 4 Pakistanis and a Sri Lankan. The sailors were held captive for ransom by the Somali pirates for over 10 months aboard a hijacked Egyptian vessel MV Suez. The ship is now sailing to freedom escorted by Pakistan Navy's PNS Babar after a second hijack attempt by Somali pirates. Pakistani ship came to the rescue of the Suez after the Indian Navy ignored its repeated calls for help, according to India's NDTV.

Of the $2.5 million ransom, the ship’s owner paid $1 million and the Ansar Burney Trust raised the remaining $1.5 million with the help of Pakistani officials, according to the Indian Telegraph newspaper.

The freed Pakistanis are the ship's captain Syed Wasi Hasan and crew Muzzamil, Mohammed Alam and Ali Rehman. Captain Wasi Hasan told Geo News that his captors had threatened to kill him. He thanked the nation and the media and particularly praised Ansar Burney for the role played in securing the sailors' release.

Acknowledging Pakistan's role, Madhu Sharma, whose husband N.K. Sharma was among the six Indians, said from Jammu: “If my husband is free today, it is because of the efforts of (Pakistani human rights activist) Ansar Burney and governor (of Pakistan’s Sindh province, Ishrat-ul Ibad)."

The gratitude was echoed by Sampa Arya the wife of sailor Ravinder Gulia, 30, in Haryana. “Burney raised funds with the help of the Pakistan government. The Indian government let us down. We met many leaders but nobody helped us. They said paying ransom is not the right way. I have lost all faith in Indian politicians,” she said.

Ravinder’s father Rajender Gulia said: “Pakistan has helped us like an elder brother and emerged as a saviour.”

Unlike the grateful relatives of the freed Indian sailors, India's foreign minister SM Krishna has not thanked Pakistan, and said, “Let us not get into a speculative analysis on who is behind it and who is provoking it.”

Altaf Husain, the leader of Pakistan's MQM party that is part of Pakistan's ruling coalition, has called upon India to reciprocate the Pakistani gesture.

"Pakistani organizations worked tirelessly to secure the release of the captive Indians as well, proving that Pakistan does not favor hostility but humanity," Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain said.

"India must recognise this spirit and reciprocate with amity, not enmity," Urdu daily Jang Tuesday quoted him as saying.

Hussain said his comments were addressed to the entire Indian leadership including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. The mistrust between India and Pakistan must be overcome for a new relationship of friendship, he said.

Here's a video clip of Indian sailors' families thanking Pakistan:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Indian Hostility Toward Pakistan

India's Sane Voice Warns Against Smugness

Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail?

Our faff-Pak Policy

Obama's Retreat in Mid East and South Asia

Pakistan is Not Falling

Can India Do a Lebanon in Pakistan?

Gaza Killings---Spectator Sport in Israel

Indians' Old Obsession With Pakistan

India Projects Maritime Power on High Seas

Aman Naval Exercises

Pakistan On the Brink


Anonymous said...

Well done Pakistan!

Another reason this useless government should resign!

farahshah said...

Yup!!!Pakistan Zindabad!!!an excellent effort by all the Pakistani people involved in this cause...but no regards for the government as it always still remain like a silent puppet!!!

Anonymous said...

Pradeep said...

I respect the gesture of the Pakistani Govt.

Anonymous said...

somali pirates are an international nuisance.Its about time someone eliminate them permanently!

Anonymous said...

It is a great work done by the pakistani. Great gesture which might start the journey of trust between the two countries.


Haseeb said...

India acts like Israel and shows no respect or favors to Pakistan in just about all situations. However, India is always quick to blame Pakistan for all bad things. This behavior will not lead to resolutions of probelm between two countires and both countires will keep on building military at the expense of human developemnt.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Navy commandos protecting MV Suez, according to NDTV:

New Delhi: Protected by nine
Pakistani commandos who are now on board the MV Suez, the ship which has six Indian sailors among the 22-member crew is likely to reach the port of Salalah in Oman tomorrow morning.

The Pakistani warship, the PNS Babar, reached the Suez on Wednesday after its crew says repeated calls to the Indian Navy were ignored. As the Babar began escorting the Suez away from the waters where it was attacked by Somali pirates, India sent a warship to help out. The late action was criticized by many, among them the Indian sailors on board the Suez and their families.

The crew of the Suez which is owned by an Egyptian company was first taken hostage nine months ago. On board are six Indians, four Pakistanis, one Sri Lankan and 11 Egyptians.

A 2.1 million dollar ransom was paid by the ship's owners with assistance from donations from Pakistan. The crew was freed earlier this week, but within hours, pirates began circling the Suez again, promoting SOS calls to the Indian Navy and to Pakistan.

Yesterday, Wasi Hasan, the captain of the Suez, told NDTV that there was just a day's worth of food left on the ship. He also said that the ship was running out of diesel, and that the Suez crew may have to abandon their ship and move to the Babar.

Anonymous said...

'India acts like Israel and shows no respect or favors to Pakistan in just about all situations.'

You mean like by and large adhering to the IWT despite 4 wars?? or giving Pakistan MFN status while being denied the same?....

Riaz Haq said...

Indian TV channel NDTV is reporting that MV Suez, escorted by PNS Babar, has arrived safely at Port Salah in Oman:

New Delhi: Egyptian sea vessel MV Suez, which has 6 Indian sailors on board and which was released by Somali pirates recently, is expected to reach Salalah port in Oman today.

The ship is being escorted by the Pakistan Navy.

Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney had played a key role in negotiations with the pirates to free hostages for whom it has been a wait of 10 months. The families of six Indians on board are also anxiously waiting for their loved ones.

The sailors of India and Pakistan who are on board the ship will then hopefully fly to their respective countries.

Earlier on Friday, the Indian government had said that the Navy had "coordinated" with other navies operating in the piracy-affected region for providing security cover to MV Suez.

"The Navy coordinated with other navies in the region so that security cover could be provided to MV Suez, the ship which was released by pirates recently and which has crew comprising, among others, of Indian and Pakistani nationals," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash had said.

Mohan said...

Good job by Pakistan. These pirates should be eliminated at any cost.

Riaz Haq said...

India's IBN Live calls "MV Suez fiaso a PR disaster for India":

New Delhi: It's likely to be three days before the Indian sailors of the MV Suez released last week by Somali pirates after a $2 million ransom was paid come home.

But the Suez saga has been a series of mis-steps. India failed to negotiate the sailors' release, failed to protect them once they were free, and failed to bring them home. And it culminated with a row with the Pakistani govt. Why did India get it so wrong?

"We have already registered our protest with the government of Pakistan," said Foreign Minister SM Krishna.

The protest over and PNS Babur's alleged aggression registered, it’s time to assess India’s own response to the hostage crisis.

India failed to organise the ransom from private parties. The Navy and the government were silent for days even as sailors pleaded for help through the media.

INS Godavari was despatched only after PNS Babur had begun escorting MV Suez. India allowed a full 24 hours to elapse before rejecting Pakistani allegations of aggression by INS Godavari.

The botched up response is despite a naval warship patrolling the Gulf of Aden and a high powered inter-ministerial group created to handle piracy related incidents.

Experts say an inquiry must be conducted and responsibility fixed or else the Navy must be given a free hand to respond to crises.

"There must be an inquiry. Forget what we told Pakistan. We must know what went wrong and who took late decisions. The Navy must be given a free hand or have someone competent in charge," said Admiral Raja Menon.

The Navy sources admit there has been a loss of face but the government insists it did its best.

It's a PR disaster that has left the Navy red-faced and showed the Indian government's claims of being sensitive towards its citizens as false. The 39 sailors still being held hostage can only hope lessons are learnt from the Suez blunders

Al Hassan said...

kisi ki jaan bachana achi baat hai jhan tk pakistan ka talaq hai to pakistan ki taraf se ye intihai acha kaam kia gia hai kiun k is ki waja se un ko wo khusi mili jo apana sub kuch kho bethe the well done pak navy

Riaz Haq said...

Freed Indian sailors reach Delhi, reports The Hindu:

After 10 months in the captivity of Somali pirates, six Indian sailors of M V Suez vessel touched down on home soil on Friday to an emotional welcome from family members.

The sailors came by an Emirates flight from Dubai which landed at IGI Airport at 9.36 am, and were received by family and friends carrying garlands.

Relatives broke down in tears at the sight of the rescued sailors as their children carried placards that read ’Thank you Ansar Burney uncle, we love you’, in a reference to the Pakistani human rights activist who facilitated their release from the sea brigands.

Closely holding his three—year—old son, Ravinder Singh Bhulia, one of the released crew members who hails from Rohtak, said, “The Indian and Pakistani media helped us a lot. As far as the Indian government’s role in the release, I don’t want to comment on it“.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, his wife Champa said, “The pain would never go“.

Another released crew member Prashant Chauhan said, “I am very happy. I waited for this moment for 10 months“.

The Indians were part of the 22 member crew, including four Pakistanis, a Sri Lankan and 11 Egyptians, who were freed last week after ransom was paid to the Somali pirates.

The crew of the MV Suez was brought to Karachi on Thursday by Pakistan Navy warship PNS Zulfiqar, which had picked up sailors from the waters off Oman.The MV Suez had sank somewhere off the coast of Oman after running out of fuel.

There was no government representative to receive them at the airport.

N K Sharma, another released crew member, said, "Whatever the Pakistan government has done is really praiseworthy. We don’t know what the Indian government did or did not, but the Pakistan government has treated us well.”

Recounting his ordeal, Sharma said they starved for many days and on some days they just got water.

“We used to get boiled rice, spaghetti and potato once a week,” he said.

Family members of the released men thanked Mr. Burney for facilitating the release of the sailors, but complained that the Indian government did little to save the sailors.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Times of India story on Indian Navy's submarine plans:

While India is still years away from getting an AIP-equipped submarine, Pakistan already has one in the shape of PNS Hamza, one of the three French Agosta-90B submarines inducted by it over the last decade. Moreover, work is also underway to retrofit the French "Mesma" AIP in hulls of the other two submarines, PNS Khalid and PNS Saad.

The six new-generation submarines from China, the improved Yuan-class boats with "Stirling-cycle" AIP, will further add a punch to Pakistan's underwater warfare capabilities.

India, in sharp contrast, has so far refused to consider the Mesma AIP option in the ongoing Rs 23,562-crore project (P-75) to build six French Scorpene submarines at Mazagon Docks (MDL), already running three years' behind schedule with the boats now slated to roll out from 2015 to 2020.

"There has also been a huge cost escalation. To incorporate the steam-based Mesma AIP in the 5th and 6th Scorpenes would cost another $100 million or so," said a senior defence ministry official.

"Moreover, Navy is more keen on fuel-cell AIP. DRDO is developing one such system, which has been tested on shore. If it comes through, it can be considered for the 5th and 6th Scorpenes," he added.

To further compound matters, there is excruciatingly slow progress on P-75I, which envisages acquisition of six new stealth submarines, equipped with both tube-launched missiles for land-attack capabilities as well as AIP, for over Rs 50,000 crore.

The RFP (request for proposal) to be issued to foreign collaborators like Rosoboronexport ( Russia), DCNS (France), HDW (Germany) and Navantia (Spain) will be possible only towards end-2011 at the earliest.

"If one foreign shipyard can give AIP, it cannot provide land-attack missile capabilities, and vice-versa. So, P-75I is very will take at least two years to even finalize it, and another six-seven years after that for the first submarine to be ready," he said.

The plan till now is to directly import two submarines from a foreign collaborator, with three being built at MDL in Mumbai, and the sixth at Hindustan Shipyard in Visakhapatnam under transfer of technology.

Incidentally, Navy will have only five of its existing 10 Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW submarines by 2020. Consequently, even with the six Scorpenes, India will be far short of its operational requirement of at least 18 conventional submarines for the foreseeable future.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #Navy, #Belgian tanker rescue 9 from #Indian ship in #Arabian Sea near #Gwadar via @YahooNews

Nine Indian crew members whose vessel sank off the Pakistani port of Gwadar in the Arabian Sea have been rescued by a tanker and Pakistan's navy, a military statement said Thursday.

According to the statement, the sailing vessel Jamna Sagar sunk on Tuesday off Gwadar after sending a distress signal.

On receiving the call, Pakistan's navy asked Belgiam-flagged tanker Kruibeke, which was closest to the distressed vessel, to provide assistance. The crew of the tanker rescued the nine from Jamna Sagar before continuing on their voyage to the United Arab Emirates.

In a subsequent search of the area, Pakistani navy helicopters spotted and recovered the body of a tenth crew member who had drowned, the statement said.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations. The two gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947 and have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.