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January 8, 2002
2000 IST

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Advani to discuss issue of Pakistan-based hijackers with US

Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani is likely to raise with American leaders the issue of bringing to book the five Pakistan-based terrorists, who hijacked an Indian plane in 1999, sources said.

Both Indian and American police have registered separate cases against them, the sources said.

The home minister, who left on a six-day visit to the United States on Tuesday, is expected to take up the issue during his meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, they said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has also filed a case in the matter. The move is part of the diplomatic pressure by New Delhi on Islamabad to extradite criminals taking shelter in Pakistan.

The FBI's team has also been in constant touch with the Central Bureau of Investigation about the developments in the hijacking case.

The CBI recently handed over a complete note about the hijackers -- Ibrahim Athar, Sunny Ahmed Qazi, Zahoor Ibrahim, Shahid Akhter Sayed and Shakir -- and their two accomplices Yusuf Azhar and Abdul Rauf to the home ministry.

Azhar and Rauf are believed to be the key conspirators behind the hijacking of the plane from Kathmandu to Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.

Advani will also be briefing the US officials about the violations by Pakistan under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation convention on extradition and mutual assistance in tackling criminal activities.

The CBI had formally written to Pakistan for the extradition of the five hijackers and their accomplices in connection with the IC-814 hijacking.

ALSO SEE
Nightmare on IC 814: The Complete Coverage

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