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Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf
"We do not know where they have gone"
 real 28k

Monday, 3 January, 2000, 17:36 GMT
War of words over hijack

Hostage with children One of the hostages reunited with his children

There have been angry exchanges between India and Pakistan over the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Afghanistan with 155 people on board.

Hijack Special Report
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee called for Pakistan to be declared a terrorist state as a result of the hijack.

"All the information now available with the government about the hijack and the subsequent developments makes it clear that it was an integral part of the Pakistan-backed campaign of terrorism," Mr Vajpayee said in a statement.


"It was an integral part of the Pakistan-backed campaign of terrrorism
Atal Behari Vajpayee
"Pakistan's active and sustained role in fomenting terrorism in India is now too obvious to be any longer overlooked by the international community," he said.

However, his remarks were denounced by Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, who said they were intended to divert attention from India's ineffective and slow response to the crisis.

He said Mr Vajpayee's statement was part of a tactic of building up a strategic relationship with the United States on the basis of trumped-up charges against Pakistan.

The hijack ended last Friday after India agreed to free three jailed militants in return for the release of the passengers and crew.


captain and family Celebrations as the captain is reunited with his family
Armed with grenades, pistols and knives, hijackers seized Flight 814 about 40 minutes after it took off from Kathmandu, Nepal, on a scheduled flight to New Delhi on Christmas Eve.

The hostages were finally freed after being held for eight days at Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan.

The five hijackers fled Kandahar, leaving the airport with three Kashmiri militants who had been released from Indian jails in a deal to free the hostages.

'Expected in Kashmir'

India says the five are Pakistani citizens who crossed back into their homeland from Afghanistan, and were near the south-western city of Quetta.

Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar: One of the militants handed over to the hijackers
Militant sources in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir said on Monday that the five hijackers were expected to arrive in or near Muzaffarabad in the next one or two days.

The Pakistani authorities say they have no knowledge of the hijackers' whereabouts and do not believe they are in Pakistan.

They say that, if the hijackers are found, they will be arrested.

On Sunday, India's National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra alleged that in one of the messages intercepted by New Delhi - a discussion between members of two different separatist organisations - one man asked why the other had condemned the hijacking, saying that the hijackers were acting on the instructions of Pakistan.

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See also:
01 Jan 00 |  South Asia
Hostage widow unaware of husband's death
01 Jan 00 |  South Asia
India's press asks tough questions
31 Dec 99 |  South Asia
In pictures: The end of the hijack
01 Jan 00 |  South Asia
Hijackers 'heading for Pakistan'

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