Pakistani hostage in Iraq released

03 Jul 2004

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ISLAMABAD, July 2: Amjad Hafeez, a Pakistani captured by militants in Iraq last week and threatened with execution, has been released by his captors, his family in Rawalpindi said.

"He (Amjad) talked to me on telephone briefly and said he was in good health," Amjad's mother Saeeda Jan told Dawn. "I am very happy. I don't have enough words to thank Allah. I am happier now than when he was born," she said.

Amjad's uncle Abdul Razaq Khan said that Amjad had been released by his abductors unconditionally. "He had a brief telephonic contact with us after his release and appears to be safe and in good health. It is a very happy moment for us as he has got a new life."

Mr Khan thanked the media for highlighting the issue. He said Amjad was expected to return to Pakistan in three to four days and the media would be provided with an opportunity to meet and interview him.

Amjad, who belongs to Parati, a village 16km north of Rawalakot in Azad Kashmir, was abducted by militants opposed to US invasion of Iraq on June 27. The captors had threatened to behead him unless the US authorities released Iraqi prisoners.

Amjad was employed by a Saudi Arabian firm, Al-Tamimi, which had a sub-contract for catering services with US firm Kellogg, Brown and Root. He was taken hostage near the US base at Balad, 80km north of Baghdad.

MUSHARRAF PLEASED: President Gen Pervez Musharraf felicitated the nation and the family of Amjad Hafeez, adds APP. Talking to private TV channels, he said the release of Amjad Hafeez was a pleasant news for the Pakistani nation. President Musharraf advised the captors of Amjad Hafeez that kidnapping and killing of innocent people were against the teachings of Islam.

TURKISH HOSTAGES FREED: Two Turkish hostages were freed in Iraq on Friday, the Turkish embassy in Baghdad said after militants announced in a video that the captives were being released after they promised to stop working for US forces.

"They were released today," a Turkish diplomat said. The video footage showed the two Turks kneeling in a room and vowing not to work with American forces. The militants then read out a statement saying the men were being released.

The two Turks, Soner Sercali and Murat Kizil, are employees of Turkish firm Kayteks. The company announced earlier this week it would stop doing business with US forces in Iraq. "They treated us well and we were not subjected to torture or abuse," Mr Kizil said.