Three Baloch insurgents executed for 1998 plane hijacking

Published: May 28, 2015
A topshot of the Hyderabad Central Jail. PHOTO: PPI

A topshot of the Hyderabad Central Jail. PHOTO: PPI

HYDERABAD: Three Baloch insurgents convicted of hijacking a plane in 1998, which they attempted to fly to India to disrupt Islamabad’s first nuclear tests were executed, officials said.

The executions were carried out on the 17th anniversary of the tests, which made Pakistan the world’s seventh nuclear-armed power — a landmark event for the impoverished Muslim country of 200 million people.

Two of the men, Shahsawar Baloch and Sabir Baloch were hanged in Hyderabad prison in southern Sindh province while the third, Shabir Rind, was hanged in Karachi, officials at both the prisons told AFP.

The trio were sentenced to death for hijacking a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft with 30 passengers on board on 24th May 1998, four days before the country’s first nuclear test.

The flight took off from the port town of Gwadar in Balochistan and was set to land in the southern port city of Karachi when the men stormed the cockpit and tried to force the pilot to fly to India.

But he instead flew to Hyderabad tricking the hijackers into thinking that they were in India.

The next day Pakistani army commandoes overpowered all the three hijackers in a night operation.

Officials said the executed hijackers were Baloch nationalists who were demanding greater autonomy for they resource-rich but impoverished province.

Read: Six convicts hanged in prisons across Punjab

Separately, four other murder convicts were executed in different parts of the country.

Mehmood Ali was hanged in Karachi Central Jail for murdering a child in Quaidabad, back in 2003. Haripur Central Jail also saw its first execution when convict Malik Khurram was hanged for killing his best friend six years ago.

Further, in District Jail Attock, a man identified as Muhammad Asfeer was hanged for killing his friend, Rizwan Shahid over a personal dispute. Asfeer was sentenced to death in 2002 by a court.

A moratorium on the death penalty had been in force since 2008, but executions were restarted in December after Taliban militants gunned down 154 people, most of them children, at the Army Public School in Peshawar.

The moratorium was initially lifted only for those convicted of terrorism offences, but in March was extended to cover all capital offences. Since then, over a 100 people have been executed all over Pakistan.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Toba Alu
    May 28, 2015 - 12:04PM

    Tally 135 + 7 + 6 + 2 = 148 (28 May). Though over 100 is factual correct it would be more informative to mention the tally of 148. I hope I did not double count. Budget deficit decreased. Moral deficit increased.Recommend

  • fateh alam
    May 28, 2015 - 12:24PM

    Capital punishment is all over the world en force,so dont make it a sensationalism newsRecommend

  • Toba Alu
    May 28, 2015 - 2:57PM

    @fateh alam:
    As of March 2015 99 countries had abolished the death penalty! So all over the world is just not true. It is just a minority, only 22 countries actually carried out this penalty in 2014. Get your facts right.Recommend

  • May 28, 2015 - 4:43PM

    The other aspect of The Punisment is to stop the crime. For some reason, it does not serve the purpose here. Its payback and thats it. Recommend

  • May 28, 2015 - 4:44PM

    The other aspect of The Punishment is to stop the crime. For some reason, it does not serve the purpose here. Its payback and thats it.Recommend

  • Jibran
    May 28, 2015 - 8:37PM

    Lifting of the moratorium was to inflict ultimate punishment on Balochs or the ones who dared attack mighty generals. Name a single LeJ, SSP, TTP, ASWJ terrorist who has butchered an ordinary citizen and has been hanged. This is why the military courts were such a bad idea.Recommend

  • AK Bhalla
    May 28, 2015 - 10:00PM

    These were Baloch Freedom Fighters ! Sacrificed their lives for Free Balochistan from the opression of Pakistan ! One day Baloch will get freedom from Pak RuleRecommend

  • salman
    May 28, 2015 - 10:21PM


    In which world are you living for the past few months ? Countless terrorists from TTP,LeJ have been recently hanged.Recommend

  • Jibran
    May 28, 2015 - 11:07PM

    Name one. Almost all of them were either involved in domestic disputes, robberies, kidnappings, honor killings, land disputes. Recommend

  • Hamood
    May 29, 2015 - 12:34AM

    @AK Bhalla, someday Kashmiris, Sikhs and Maoists will also get freedom from India. ET I dare you to publish this comment. As usual, you are censoring Pakistanis comments and allowing Indians. Whose agenda are you working on?Recommend

  • Hari Om
    May 29, 2015 - 6:24AM

    Excesses committed by Punjab dominated security forces targeting Balochi origin people such as grossly excessive judicial punishment of freedom fighter Mujahideen like in this news item, extra judicial executions, sponsoring death squad militia’s, enforced disappearances, torture, custodial rape, and the like will inevitably be resisted by the freedom yearning people of Balochistan. The 700,000 Punjabi dominated occupation forces will not succeed in dousing the fire of liberation in Baluchistan as was the case in the erstwhile East Pakistan which forms todays Bangladesh.

    India must provide fullest diplomatic and moral support to the Baloch freedom struggle. Indian Consulates in Iran and Afghanistan must provide all necessary help to Baluch freedom fighters.Recommend

  • disgusted
    May 29, 2015 - 12:24PM

    You did not have the morality to post my comment.Recommend

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