Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Sahil Saeed's mother's joy at speaking to her son

By Ruth Clegg
BBC News

Sahil Saeed
Sahil Saeed chatted happily to his mother on the phone

A happy little boy from a quiet terraced street in Oldham, Greater Manchester has become the focus of the world's media.

Since Sahil Saeed's kidnap 12 days ago, pictures of the five-year-old have dominated the news as his family and the surrounding community waited desperately for information.

Little does he know images of his big brown eyes have captivated people across the world, with many praying for his safe return.

His distraught mother, Akila Naqqash, finally received the news she had desperately hoped for.

Sahil had been found unhurt wandering in a field behind a school, near where he was first snatched in Jhelum, Pakistan.

'Bring presents home'

She said: "I was gobsmacked when I spoke to him. He had been held for 13 long days but he spoke to me like nothing had happened.

"He was going on and and on like any other little boy would.

"He kept asking how his younger sisters were, how his uncle and his auntie were.

"He said, 'Mummy, are my toys safe? I am going to bring everyone presents, I going to buy them presents for when I come home'."

She said he seemed more concerned about the condition of his Sporticus toys, than the fact he had been kidnapped at gunpoint less than two weeks ago.

"I was just so happy to hear his voice, to know that was my little boy and he was safe.

"At one point he asked, 'Mummy, are you crying?' I said, no of course not. He carried on and on talking about himself and asking about us.

I am going to give him a big kiss and cuddles and keep him happy, as well as giving him his favourite meal - a jacket potato
Akila Naqqash, Sahil's mother

"It was just wonderful to hear his voice."

A child kidnap story with a happy ending has prompted cameras and reporters to descend on the towns of Oldham, Greater Manchester, and Jhelum in Pakistan.

Members of Sahil's extended family and the local community have spoken of their joy, while handing out trays of sweets and delicacies to the media in the street.

Javad Anwas, Sahil's cousin said: "I was over there in Pakistan when he was kidnapped, it was terrible.

"A family friend phoned me a lot earlier to tell me the news of his release, we went straight to the house crying away you know.

"It's been stressful because no-one has known what's going on, every time you ask someone they don't seem to know what's what, so its really good news that he's safe and well."

Riaz Ahmed, a friend of the family and former Mayor of Oldham, said: "It's fantastic news, it's what everyone has been hoping and praying for, everyone especially the mother has been through so much.

Akila Naqqash, mother of Sahil Saeed
Akila Naqqash said it was wonderful to hear her son's voice

"It must have been horrendous, a young frail child who doesn't speak the language, it has been a very difficult situation."

Mrs Naqqash said she was not sure when Sahil would be flying back but there was was very little chance they would ever be returning to Pakistan.

"When he comes back I am going to give him a big kiss and cuddles and keep him happy, as well as giving him his favourite meal - a jacket potato.

"We have got permission for a big party at school and he will be happy to see all his friends and teachers. We are grateful for everything.

"We can't wait to have him back."



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