Two young boys have been rescued from an Al Ain camel farm through swift action by Abu Dhabi police and and are now safely in police custody.
The boys, Shajar, six, and Shajawar, four, were kidnapped from their home in Dera Ghazi Khan in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province three months ago.
They were brought illegally to the UAE via Iran by two agents named Gul Ahmed and Sharo Mai using forged passports and false birth certificates. Here the boys were sold to a Pakistani agent for Dh20,000 each.
The use of young boys as camel jockeys is illegal in the UAE. They were banned in 1993 by the Camel Race Association under instructions from President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The regulations prohibit children from racing camels and state that all jockeys must weigh at least 45 kilos in keeping with international standards set for horse jockeys.
The kidnapping came to light when their relatives filed a complaint with the Anser Burney Welfare Trust in Karachi.
Burney, who came to the UAE in search of the boys, told Gulf News that their family told him that the boys' father was working in Dubai.
"We thought that it would be better to get in touch with the father and start our investigation by organising a hunt for the boys. They were spotted in Al Ain.
"When we visited the camp we were not allowed to get anywhere near the boys by the camp supervisors. To overcome this problem, we got in touch with the Pakistan Embassy which quickly enlisted the support of Gen. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Undersecretary of Interior.
"The Abu Dhabi police sent two police CID officers with us to the camp. The boys were handed over to us without further hassle from the camp authorities."
An embassy spokesman said that once the legal formalities are completed the boys will be repatriated to Pakistan.
Gulan Rasool, the father, told Gulf News he was unaware that his boys had been kidnapped and brought to UAE.
"The entire matter came to light when I called home to talk to my kids. I was shocked when my wife told me that the kids were with me. I was totally lost and had no idea where to search for them.
"When I spotted them in the camel camp in Al Ain I could not believe my eyes. They had become so weak and had severe injuries to their legs. I would love to return home with them, but then I am the only earning member of the family," Rasool said.
Shajar told Gulf News that the kidnappers said he would meet his father in Dubai.
"But when I came here they started treating me badly. Whenever I asked them about my father I was told to shut my mouth."
Shajawar is undergoing treatment for leg injuries at an Abu Dhabi government hospital.
The whereabouts of Gul Ahmed and Sharo Mai are not known. It is believed they have fled the country.