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October 1, 1981, Forty Years Ago: Pak To The Rescue

The five hijackers were over-powered and arrested by Pakistani commandos and are now being detained in Lahore.

This is the front page of The Indian Express published on October 1, 1981.

In a swift and efficient rescue operation, Pakistani security forces stormed the hijacked Indian Airlines Boeing 737 at Lahore airport early on Wednesday morning, two hours before the deadline, and freed 39 passengers and six members of the crew held hostage since Tuesday afternoon. The five hijackers were over-powered and arrested by Pakistani commandos and are now being detained in Lahore. No one was hurt in the commando operation. The entire operation took not more than 10 minutes leaving the hijackers nonplussed. Radio Pakistan said in its morning broadcast that this “daring action by the commandos was taken entirely at the initiative of the Pakistan government”.

Extradition Request

While the Indian government is highly appreciative of the assistance the Pakistan government has given in the release of the passengers and the crew of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane, New Delhi has asked for the extradition of the five the hijackers so that they can be according to Indian law. President N Sanjiva Reddy thanked President Zia-ul- Haq on the telephone for “all that has been done” to rescue the hijacked plane and its passengers. The Ministry of External Affairs spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday that the Pakistan government’s cooperation was positive and effective.

Dal Khalsa

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Punjab wants the Centre to curb the activities of the Dal Khalsa who were operating mainly from the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Chief Minister, Mr Darbara Singh, told reporters. He said the state was taking steps to deal with the members of the organisation. The CM, however, declined to divulge details of the proposed steps but emphasised that stern action would be taken against communal elements.

First published on: 01-10-2021 at 02:52 IST
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