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Statement by Ministry of External Affairs on recent hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814

New Delhi
January 15, 2000

In connection with the recent hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814, India today drew the attention of Pakistan to the latter’s legal obligations under the Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation of 1971, the Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft of 1970 and the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism, to all of which Pakistan is a party.

The Pakistan High Commissioner, Mr. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs today by the Foreign Secretary and informed that the Government of India had jurisdiction over the offences committed by the hijackers and their accomplices.  He was reminded that Pakistan also had legal obligations, under the Simla Agreement of 1972, to prevent the organization, assistance or encouragement of any acts detrimental to the maintenance of peaceful and harmonious relations and also to prevent hostile propaganda.  He was told that support to acts of terrorism, including the hijacking of the Indian Airlines aircraft and subsequent anti-India public statements by the released terrorist, Masood Azhar, who was in Pakistan, were in contravention of Pakistan's obligations under the Simla Agreement.

The Pakistan High Commissioner was also told that the terrorists, whose release was secured by the hijackers by threatening the lives of the hostages and killing one of them, had since made their appearance in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.  Given that a large number of terrorists whose release was sought by the hijackers are Pakistani nationals and that the first destination chosen by the hijackers was Lahore, there was strong ground to believe that the hijackers were currently in Pakistan.  Accordingly, Pakistan, as a State party to the above Conventions, had the clear legal obligation to take them into custody and extradite them to India.

It was also made clear to the Pakistan High Commissioner that the Government of India expected Pakistan to take the necessary measures to apprehend the hijackers and their accomplices present in Pakistan, to extradite them to India for prosecution in fulfillment of its obligations under the international conventions mentioned above, to co-operate in connection with criminal proceedings against the offenders and to report to the International Civil Aviation Organization all relevant information in its possession regarding the hijacking and the action taken against the offenders.

He was also informed that the Government of India reserved the right to take further measures as appropriate.

The UNGA has adopted by consensus the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, in which it has categorically affirmed that acts of terrorism for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.  The Declaration has also asked States to refrain from organizing, instigating, facilitating, financing, encouraging or tolerating terrorist activities and take appropriate practical measures to ensure that their respective territories are not used for terrorist installations or training camps or for the preparation or organization of terrorist acts intended to be committed against other States or their citizens.

Growing international consensus against terrorism is also reflected in the resolution 1269 adopted by the UN Security Council on 18th October, 1999, which unequivocally condemned and called upon States to prevent and suppress terrorist acts.