Sada-e-Watan Sydney ô
ABC Darwin presents exclusive story about PAK Navy Sailor who jumped from Ship and later arrested in Australia
Speculation is mounting as to why a Pakistani navy sailor jumped ship off the coast of Darwin and was found trying to hide on the Australian mainland. Well Known Australian Journalist Xavier La Canna of ABC Darwin collected necessary information; he spends hours on his story and also talk about the subject with Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Her Excellency Asima Rabbani, Defence Advisor Brigadier Muhammad Asghar and Editor-in-Chief Sada-e-Watan Syed Zafar Hussain. Please read the interested report of ABC Darwin:
Speculation is mounting as to why a Pakistani navy sailor jumped ship off the coast of Darwin and was found trying to hide on the Australian mainland.
On a Pakistan Defence web forum some hailed the actions of the sailor, who disappeared early on Sunday morning and was found about 11pm (CST) on Monday hiding in a shed near Darwin where he was last seen.
"I must salute at the sailor for his tenacity. Swimming in the seas and reaching the mainland is no small feat," said one post.
Others compared his activities with Pakistani sailors who went AWOL in Japan in 2007 while some said he may have had an Australian girlfriend or just been fed up with life on a Pakistani Navy vessel.
The man was aboard the PNS NASR, a Pakistani ship that was in Australia as part of the Exercise Kakadu war games in which 15 nations were participating.
He is thought to have jumped off the ship sometime before 4:30am on Sunday and swum hundreds of metres to shore in waters known to have crocodiles.
Afterwards he was seen hiding in bushes in the rural outskirts of Darwin and was later found by police, after an extensive search in conjunction with the Australian Navy that included helicopters, dogs and patrol boats.
Since he was apprehended NT Police have handed the man to Immigration officials, but a spokesman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison did not return numerous calls seeking information on why the man decided to swim to the mainland.
Professor Derek Woolner from the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre said the sailor's decision to jump ship may provide an insight into divisions within the Pakistan military.
Professor Woolner said he did not know why the sailor, who reportedly had a backpack that found in the water, decided to leave his ship but said divisions in the Pakistani military were known to exist.
"There are a lot of issues with the Pakistani military about radicalisation through the armed forces ... and to what extent that affects the cohesiveness of the armed forces," Professor Woolner said.
"The cohesiveness of their armed forces is of no small importance given that they have the (nuclear) bomb," he said.
Professor Woolner said it may also point to poor conditions within the Pakistan navy, or aboard the vessel that the sailor was serving on.
In a statement Acting High Commissioner for Pakistan to Australia, Asima Rabbani, said Pakistan had officially requested the Australian authorities return the sailor to their navy.
"We do not accept such risky behaviour on the part of Pakistani officials and we treat this as a disciplinary issue," Ms Rabbani said.
"The sailorís family has been informed of the incidence and Pakistan navy is in contact with them," she said.
Syed Zafar Hussain, who is editor-in-chief of the Pakistani news website Sada-e-Watan Sydney, said he thought the sailor may have hoped to slip unnoticed into Australia for financial reasons.
"Maybe he didn't want to miss the chance and saw the paradise and so he jumped off the ship," Mr Hussain said.
The man would likely seek asylum in Australia, he said.
Mr Hussain said that the man faced a difficult future if he was not granted asylum, with the likelihood he would be court martialled and sent to a Pakistan military jail where he may never see his family again.
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