Indian in Saudi Arabia seeks father's release from Pakistan jail

Dubai, June 5 (IANS) An expatriate Indian man in Saudi Arabia has asked the newly-elected Pakistan government to release his father who is reportedly languishing in a jail in Pakistan for the last 36 years.

V.K. Abdul Latheef, 38, told the Arab News that he was just 18-months-old when his father Vellakkattu Veettil Hamza left their home at Thennala, Tirungadi taluk in the Malappuram district in the south Indian state of Kerala to seek work in the Gulf.

Hamza was one of 35 people on board a boat that had set sail from Wasayi port in Mumbai 36 years ago.

However, the Pakistan Coast Guard arrested all the 35 people from the boat in the Arabian Sea.

Latheef, who works in Dammam in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, said that his family does not have a photograph of Hamza and the one picture they had from a railway season pass was lost in a studio that was supposed to restore it.

Though Latheef had initially believed that his father must have been working in a shop in Mumbai, the media in Kerala later quoted a Malayali man living in Karachi as saying that he had seen a man named C.V. Mammootty, hailing from Kannur in Kerala, in a jail in Pakistan.

Mammotty was one of the 35 people on board the ill-fated boat, and according to the man in Karachi, Mammooty had said that all the others from the boat were in jail along with him.

Latheef has now appealed to new Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to help the distressed families get their relatives back home.

Latheef's family includes his mother and Hamza's wife, Nechiyil Pathumma, his elder brother, Abdul Salam, and younger sister, Rabiya, who was not even born when Hamza left home.

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