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December 28, 1999
Indian authorities have info on ISI role in hijack
Josy Joseph in New Delhi
Forces in Pakistan have played a major role in the hijack of the Indian Airlines flight IC 814, Indian intelligence agencies claim based on inputs received from various quarters.
According to reliable sources, the agencies have received inputs about the direct involvement of Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence and this evidence has been submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Security and the Prime Minister's Office.
There have been intercepts of radio communication between commanders of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in the Kashmir Valley where the role of the Pakistani authorities is very clear.
The Indian government has already officially expressed doubts about the role of Pakistan in the entire episode. Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh on Monday said inquiries in Nepal had indicated that five of the hijackers had arrived at the Tribhuvan international airport in Kathmandu by a Pakistan International Airlines flight. From the arrival lounge they walked straight into the departure lounge where someone was waiting for them with tickets for Delhi.
On Pakistan's role in the rescue operations, he said, "It is for them to decide." The government had also accused the Pakistan government of delaying clearance to the rescue flight, which reached Kandahar on Monday evening.
Four of the six hijackers have also been identified as Pakistan citizens. According to information available, they are SA Qazi, Ibrahim Mistri, Ahmed Shekh and Syed Akhtary Syed.
Pakistan has shot back by saying that these claims are absurd. The chief executive officer of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf told CNN on Tuesday that even before India started negotiations with the hijackers at Kandahar, how could they have come to conclusions about the identity of the hijackers. As of now, he believes that none of the hijackers are Pakistanis and it is yet another Indian attempt to tarnish Pakistan's image.
But independent sources told rediff.com that there have been several intercepts of radio communications between the militants, especially the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen members, which proves beyond any doubt that Pakistan has played a role in the hijack. "It now looks as if these [protests to the contrary] are all stage-managed," an intelligence official said.
One such conversation intercepted on Monday was between two local commanders, where the first person is heard criticising the second for some public statements disowning the hijacking by some Harkat-ul-Mujahideen leaders. The second commander replies that the disowning was at the instance of Pakistan.
There are also several other "credible pieces of information" to prove the involvement of Pakistan's ISI and "others" in the entire episode, sources claim.
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