Rescued Pak sailors touched by India's 'love'

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
Mumbai: Five Pakistani sailors, who are put up in a police station in south Mumbai after being rescued from the seas since March and will soon be moving back to their homeland, today said they were touched by the "love, kindness and help" extended to them in India.

The sailors, who had been rescued by the Indian Navy from the high sea said that they would take the "mohabbat ka paigam" (message of love) to Pakistan from India.

The five sailors--Aurangzeb Nabi Bakhsh Balloch (24), his younger brother Sajjad Ali Balloch (19), Lal Bakhsh Murid Khan (20), Farhad Aalam Khan (24) and Mohammed Umair (18)-- spoke to reporters after an officer from the Pakistani Consulate met them this morning and informed them that they would be taken back to Pakistan in the coming few days.

Aurangazeb said they were treated very well during the three months they were in the police station.

"I cannot forget the moments that I have spent in India. I am happy that I am going to my country, but also sad that I am leaving India," he said.

Responding to a question on 26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab, currently lodged in Arthur Road, Aurangazeb said, "I do not want to talk anything about him (Kasab). Shoot him (Kasab)."

He said that there was one moment he would never forget-- when India won the Cricket World Cup final in April.

"We were watching the match in the police station. I was happy that India won the match," he said, adding, "I did feel a little upset that Pakistan had lost but at the same time, I was also happy that India won. Because I was already moved by the love, kindness and help extended to us by Indians."

Sajjad Ali said, "Like Indians get an impression of Pakistan through news reports, even I had the same impression about India before coming here. But my impression has changed completely and I have realised that Indians are humble and very caring people."

He said he was also in touch with his family members in Pakistan, who kept asking him about his return. "But I told them that I am in a very safe place and will be reaching soon."

Another sailor Farhad said, "We have been treated here like a celebrity and we are in the media limelight. I am also happy and the whole of India is supporting and helping us to reach our country.

"Pirates had tortured us a lot, but we forgot that pain as the love from Indian people have erased our bad moments. I want to thank the Indian Navy, police and people for all the love."

The other two sailors, however, did not speak.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who was instrumental in ensuring the return of the five sailors to Pakistan, said, "It is a moment of miracle. As a civil society, we did our best. I hope the governments from India as well as Pakistan will continue to extend a helping hand to each other."

Replying to a query, Bhatt said, "Ask Mahatma Gandhi. The feeling of enemy should be kept away from both the sides. I love the people of Pakistan, I love these people (five sailors) and I will continue to love, as it is my right to do so."

The Vice Chairman of State Minorities Commission Abraham Mathai said, "Our continuous efforts have yielded results."

"We are happy for that," added Mathai.