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Aid worker's family criticises FCO

The sister-in-law of a British aid worker killed in Pakistan has said his relatives would have raised the ransom themselves if they had known it was not going to be paid.

Margaret Dale also criticised the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for not telling her about the death of Khalil Dale. The aid worker was abducted at gunpoint in January while working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Baluchistan province.

The 60-year-old's body was found dumped in an orchard with a note saying he had been killed because his kidnappers had not received a ransom.

Mrs Dale, of Huntington, York, said she assumed the ICRC would pay Mr Dale's ransom and was not told otherwise. She told the Yorkshire Post: "My thought was that the Red Cross would pay the ransom but I was wrong. I wish they had told me that it was not going to be paid.

"We were all desperate to get him home, and he has family here who all own properties. We could have tried to raise money."

Mrs Dale added that she had still not been officially contacted and informed about her brother-in-law's death. She added: "I contacted the Foreign Office and said that I would hate to find out that he had been killed on the news and I was told they would keep me informed, but I am still waiting for a call from them four days after he was found dead."

Christian Cardon of the ICRC said: "The policy of the ICRC when it comes to ransom is that we do not pay but we systematically call for the unconditional release of a hostage. This has also been the case for this crisis. The fact that the ICRC does not pay ransom does not prevent us identifying other means to secure the safe release of the hostage in the context of a dialogue with the abductors."

Mr Dale, from Dumfries, Scotland, was travelling home from a school in a clearly marked ICRC vehicle when kidnappers bundled him into a car in the city of Quetta on January 5. The identities of his captors are unknown, but the region is home to separatist and Islamist militants who have kidnapped for ransom before.

Mr Dale was born in York and had been awarded the MBE for his humanitarian work overseas. He changed his name from Ken when he became a Muslim, was engaged to be married and had been living in Pakistan for nearly a year.

His fiancee Anne is also a nurse and lives in Australia. Mr Dale shared a home with his mother in Dumfries until her death in 2007.

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