Pakistanis held by Israelis return today
By Masood Haider
UNITED NATIONS: Three Pakistanis detained by Israeli commandos who stormed a Gaza aid flotilla on Monday have been sent to Jordan for onward travel to Pakistan, the UN Secretary-General’s office informed the Pakistan mission in New York on Tuesday.
A press statement by the Pakistan mission to the United Nations said that the three, Mr Talat Hussain, Mr Raza Mehmood Agha and Mr Nadeem Ahmed Khan, had been recovered and sent to Jordan. They were detained in Israel’s Beersheba prison.
The Pakistanis were on board a Gaza-bound relief ship which came under the deadly Israeli attack in international waters.
In New York, Pakistan’s acting Ambassador to the UN Amjad Hussain Sial had sought help from Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambiar for recovering the three from Israelis.
Our Staff Reporter in Islamabad adds: “The three Pakistanis will fly to Islamabad from Amman on Wednesday,” a spokesman for the interior ministry said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik told journalists that Aaj TV channel’s executive news director Talat Hussain, Raza Mehmood and Nadeem Khan, chief of the local chapter of an NGO, Khubaib Foundation, had reached Jordan safely after remaining in Israeli detention for almost 48 hours.
“The process of identification and confirmation of passports has been completed,” the minister said.
According to Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, the US State Department had confirmed that the three men were held in the Ella detention facility in Beersheba.
Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan Hazem Hussain Abu Shanab visited the National Press Club in Islamabad to express solidarity with journalists.
He promised complete cooperation for safely bringing home the three Pakistanis. The ambassador said the international community should take action against Israeli aggression.
“The Security Council of the UN should have taken more effective measures to stop aggression of Israel and ensure complete independence and freedom of the state of Palestine,” he said.
He termed Monday night’s emergency meeting of the UNSC ‘unsatisfactoryÂ’ as it put no pressure on Israel.
The ambassador said Palestine should be accepted as an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Israel detained or deported hundreds of activists who were aboard the Turkish-backed aid ships it had seized en route to Gaza, Reuters adds.
Some 700 activists were processed in and around Israel’s port of Ashdod where the six ships of the blockade-running convoy had been escorted. Among the activists were many Turks, but they included Israelis and Palestinians as well as Americans and Europeans.
The Israeli interior ministry said 682 activists were ordered deported and 45 of them left the country on Tuesday, while others were jailed as they challenged the orders, or were in hospital being treated for injuries.
Israel gave the following breakdown of countries and number of their activists ordered expelled, excluding those killed or seriously wounded in Monday’s raid: Australia 3; Azerbaijan 2; Italy 6; Indonesia 12; Ireland 9; Algeria 28; United States 11; Bulgaria 2; Bosnia 1; Bahrain 4; Belgium 5; Germany 11; South Africa 1; Holland 2; United Kingdom 31; Greece 38; Jordan 30; Kuwait 15; Lebanon 3; Mauritania 3; Malaysia 11; Egypt 3; Macedonia 3; Morocco 7; Norway 3; New Zealand 1; Syria 3; Serbia 1; Oman 1; Pakistan 3; Czech Republic 4; France 9; Kosovo 1; Canada 1; Sweden 11; Turkey 380; and Yemen 4.