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Relatives of MV Albedo crew desperately seek funds to save loved ones

Published May 11, 2012 09:55am

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Family members of the Pakistani hostages gathered at the Punjab Chowrangi the raise the remaining $1.4 million. –Photo by Habib Khaskhely/Dawn.com

KARACHI: Family members of the crew aboard a ship hijacked by Somali pirates gathered at a busy roundabout in Karachi late Thursday, to collect ransom money in time to save their relatives.

The 23 crew members aboard MV Albedo, which was hijacked by Somali pirates in November 2010, have been languishing for over a year, as their loved ones have been unable to collect the 1.4-million-dollar ransom money demamded by the captors. Relatives of the seven crew members who are from Pakistan gathered at the Punjab Chowrangi in a bid to collect money from citizens willing to help out.

According to details, the pirates have only provided boiled rice and contaminated water to the confined crew over the 18-month period of their captivity.

The families, meanwhile, are struggling to collect the money. They currently need more than a million rupees per hour to raise the shortfall of $1.4 million until the deadline of May 15, which is barely over a hundred hours away.

The Somali hijackers first demanded $8 million to release the captives. After several rounds of talks, they finally demanded $ 2.85 million by April 20, 2012. Then upon the request of Ahmed Chinoy (Head of Pakistan Citizens-Police Liaison Committee) the deadline was finally set to May 15.

Mishal Jawaid the daughter of Captian Jawaid Saleem told Dawn.com that if 27,500 people or families, contribute Rs.5000 each, the amount could be raised easily and if the amount were to be divided upon the whole Pakistani population, it will cost less than a rupee to each person.

Celebrities from the media also joined hands with the worried families and gathered at the venue with the family members, holding charity boxes. Renowned philanthropist Abdus Sattar Edhi has, meanwhile, contributed Rs 2.5 million to the fund.

“When my father returns home, I will tell how much I love him,” said Salwa the daughter of Muhammad Mujtaba. –Photo by Habib Khaskhely/Dawn.com

Salwa and Hira Mujtaba, daughters of Muhammad Mujtaba – the chief officer of the ship, have also traveled from Mansehra to Karachi in order to help raise money.

“The last time I spoke to my father, he told me he would come back soon."

“During load-shedding hours, my father would often take me to the open fields and mountains on his motorcycle,” she added.

“April 1, 2011 was the last I spoke with my husband,” said Sughra, the wife of captive seaman, Faqir Soomro.

Sughra says that she is hopeful for the safe return of her husband.

Family members have set up the charity accounts mentioned below to raise funds:

Bank Name: NIB Bank LTD.

Branch Name: University Road Branch, Karachi, Pakistan

Account Name: Shahnaz Jawaid & Neelam Mujtaba

Account No. (PKR): 10052-10653622

Account No. (USD): 10052-10653789

Account No. (GBP) :10052-10653808

Swift Code: NIBPPKKA (This is the same as Sort Code, ABA No, IFSC No. or Transit Institution No.)

People living abroad can donate through Western Union.