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Home > India > News > PTI

Kandahar: BJP defends decision to free terrorists

March 14, 2008 21:08 IST

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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday defended the National Democratic Alliance government's decision to free three terrorists to end the Kandahar hijacking crisis with its Prime Ministerial face L K Advani saying the "first priority" was to save the hostages.

Addressing the India Today Conclave in New Delhi, he said the government took such a decision as all the parties were at that time demanding that passengers on board the hijacked plane be safely freed.

"The first priority was release of the passengers. That was the advice given by parties," he said while attacking the UPA government's anti-terror policies.

The BJP has lately been at the receiving end of sustained attack from the Congress over the NDA government's decision to release three terrorists, including Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Mazood Azhar, to end the 1999 hijacking crisis.

During the interaction after his speech, Advani was asked whether his party was really serious about fighting terrorism or is it just a short-term stand to win votes.

In reply, the Leader of the Opposition said the Agra [Images] talks between then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] failed because Islamabad

opposed inclusion of the issue of cross border terrorism in the joint statement.

He said the NDA government insisted that if cross border terrorism is not included, then there will be no joint statement.

"Had we not been serious, the Agra talks would not have failed," he added.

Advani claimed the NDA government was successful in 2004 to extract an assurance from Pakistan that it will not support any terrorist activities from its soil.


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