PIA Fokker hijackers sent to gallows after 17 years

Published May 28, 2015
An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), Hyderabad, had awarded capital punishment to three main accused,  Shahsawar, Sabir and Shabbir, in October 1998.— AFP/file
An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), Hyderabad, had awarded capital punishment to three main accused, Shahsawar, Sabir and Shabbir, in October 1998.— AFP/file

KARACHI: Three death-row prisoners convicted for the 1998 hijacking of a PIA Fokker were executed in Karachi and Hyderabad jails on Thursday.

A Karachi-bound PIA Fokker was hijacked by three men shortly after it took off from Turbat with more than 30 passengers on board on May 24, 1998.

The hijackers wanted to take the aircraft to India.

The pilot of the plane, Captain Uzair Khan had landed the plane at the Hyderabad airport, duping the hijackers into believing that they had landed in the Bhuj airfield of India.

Hyberabad's then deputy commissioner and SSP, while impersonating as Indian officials, had held talks with the hijackers. The hijackers were opposed to any nuclear tests in Balochistan, following India's testing of nuclear weapons a few weeks prior to the incident.

The hijacking had come to an end after security personnel stormed the plane overpowering the hijackers.

A view of Dawn Newspaper's frontpage as it appeared on May 25, 1998.
A view of Dawn Newspaper's frontpage as it appeared on May 25, 1998.

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), Hyderabad, had awarded capital punishment to the three main accused, Shahsawar, Sabir and Shabbir, in October 1998.

The appeal of the accused against their convictions had been rejected by the Sindh High Court, Karachi bench, and subsequently by the apex court.

Their mercy appeal was also rejected by President of Pakistan.

Shabbir was executed in Karachi central Jail while Sabir and Shahsawar were executed in Hyderabad Central Jail.

Murderers hanged in Sahiwal and Sargodha

A condemned prisoner was hanged in Sahiwal Central Jail on Thursday. Mohammad Ashraf was convicted in 2001 for the murder of two brothers over a petty issue in their neighbourhood in 2000.

Similarly another murderer Ameer Abdullah was hanged in Sargodha district jail. Abdullah was convicted for the 2002 murder of a person over a quarrel.

The appeals of both convicts had been rejected by higher and superior courts. President of Pakistan had also rejected their mercy appeals.

Pakistan lifted its moratorium on the death penalty in all capital cases on March 10.

Initially executions were resumed for terrorism offences only in the wake of a Taliban massacre at an army-run school in Peshawar which had claimed the lives of more than 150 persons, mostly schoolchildren, on December 16, 2014.

The United Nations, the European Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on Pakistan to re-impose its moratorium on the death penalty.

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