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Indian crew of Suez to be repatriated after arrival in Karachi

Islamabad: Six Indian sailors, who were part of the 22-member crew of MV Suez vessel that was recently freed by Somali pirates, would be reaching Karachi on Thursday after which they would be sent back to India.

Suhail Izaz Khan, Counsellor from the Indian High Commission here, was going to Karachi to receive the sailors after which they would be sent back to India, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters on her way here from Delhi.

Somali pirates released the crew of the Egyptian-owned ship, including six Indians and four Pakistanis, after ransom was paid to them.

The crew members, who were held by the pirates for about 10 months, were expected to reach Karachi this afternoon on the Pakistan Navy warship PNS Zulfiqar.

Their release was immediately mired in controversy, with both India and Pakistani accusing each other of indulging in risky and dangerous manoeuvres when the freed merchant vessel was being escorted.

Pakistan alleged that INS Godavari brushed with its frigate. It claimed that INS Godavari "not only hampered humanitarian operations being carried out by Pakistan Navy Ship Babur for Merchant Vessel Suez but also undertook dangerous manoeuvres, which resulted in the brushing of the sides" of the two warships.

India, however, strongly denied the allegations, saying that it was the Pakistani warship which scraped past INS Godavari.

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