A slim 28-year- old British Asian man this week walked calmly through the crowds going about their day in a Paris suburb. But 'Tony' Raja Saeed, from Oldham, had much on his mind. His actions would determine whether his five-year-old son lived or died.
For days, Mr Saeed had been waiting nervously in the French capital to make the ransom payment that could save Sahil, who had been seized by an armed gang while the pair were visiting relatives in Pakistan two weeks ago. The gang demanded 15 million Pakistani rupees (£110,000) or the boy would be killed.
Brandishing automatic rifles and grenades, the kidnappers had tied up guests staying at the Saeed family home, a two-hour drive from Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.
But Mr. Saeed - christened 'Tony' while working in an Oldham fast-food restaurant - was not a rich man. He didn't have £10,000, let alone £110,000. And so he decided to take an astonishing gamble.
Back in the UK, Mr. Saeed was briefed by Manchester detectives specially trained in international kidnapping cases. At the same time, he continued to field calls from the kidnappers, who always spoke in Urdu, suggesting it was a local Pakistani crime gang. '
But some members of Oldham's Pakistani community were angered by requests to hand over money during an appeal to raise the ransom and now want to know where the funds they did contribute have gone.
Mr. Saeed, his critics claim, was notorious for never having money. Instead, he allegedly regularly borrowed cash from other relatives - but never repaid his debts.
Having married Akila through an arranged ceremony organized by relatives in Pakistan, Mr. Saeed came to the UK in 2003. But, despite having three children with Akila, he had recently been turned down for permanent residency in the UK.
He was carrying a rucksack containing the £110,000, in a mixture of sterling and Euro notes. It is understood that some of the money was supplied by Interpol, who were happy to use it as 'bait' in order to smash the gang. Where the rest of the funds came from is unclear.
I have also heard that Manchester Police paid some of this money and I would ask why? Is it because there is an election coming up and LIEbour want the Muslim vote?
Minister Phil Woolas, who is also the family's MP, said yesterday it was right to pay the £110,000 ransom a statement that is in apparent contrast to government policy not to negotiate with kidnappers.
So where is the police money for Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates from their yacht in the Indian Ocean, they said they are not being treated well and need urgent help.
Where are Manchester detectives specially trained in international kidnapping cases now? Why has a White British couple been left to rot, why is there no help for them? This is a disgrace is it not?
Tom Linden (NF Press and Publicity)