The 22 crew members, including six Indians, of Egyptian merchant vessel MV Suez will reach here before being sent back to their respective countries, Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney has said.

Mr. Burney, who has played a pivotal role in securing the release of the crew, hoped the return of the Indian sailors would be a “gift” to India.

Besides the six Indians, there are five Pakistanis and a Sri Lankan among the crew, which was yesterday transferred to Pakistani warship PNS Babar after the vessel started sinking.

“I hope this will be a good gift to India from my side. I love you all Indians, I love you all Pakistanis,” Mr. Burney said.

“When they will reach here, from the next flight I will send them back to their respective countries,” he told CNN-IBN.

MV Suez was on its way to the Omani port of Salalah when it ran out of fuel and began taking on water in stormy weather. On getting a call for assistance, Pakistan Navy chief Admiral Noman Bashir ordered the vessel’s crew to be shifted to the frigate PNS Babar, which was escorting it.

Mr. Burney played a crucial role in arranging for ransom and negotiating with the Somali pirates who held the ship for 10 months.

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