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India: The Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday asked the PM Narendra Modi to tell the nation that it was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government which released terror outfit JeM chief Masood Azhar from an Indian jail

Make it clear to people to India who sent Masood Azhar," he said. Pakistan-based Azhar was released by India in exchange of passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999 during the Vajpayee government.

The Indian government was forced to release Masood Azhar in 1999 in order to save the lives of around 180 people onboard a hijacked plane. Azhar went on to form Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit that was behind the February 14, 2019, suicide bombing of a CRPF convoy in which 40 jawans lost their lives

Indian Airlines Flight 814, commonly known as IC 814, was an Indian Airlines Airbus A300 in route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Friday, 24 December 1999, when it was hijacked and flown to several locations before landing in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Harkat-ul-Mujahideen was accused of the hijacking with the support and active assistance from ISI.

The aircraft was hijacked by gunmen shortly after it entered Indian airspace at about 17:30 IST. Hijackers ordered the aircraft to be flown to several locations. After touching down in Amritsar, Lahore, and Dubai, the hijackers finally forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan, which at the time was controlled by the Taliban. The hijackers released 27 of 176 passengers in Dubai but fatally stabbed one and wounded several others.

The motive for the hijacking appears to have been to secure the release of Islamist figures held in prison in India. The hostage crisis lasted for seven days and ended after India agreed to release three militants – Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, and Mulana Masood Azhar. These militants have since been implicated in other terrorist actions, such as the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and 2019 Pulwama attacks. The hijacking has been seen as one of the millennium attack plots in late December 1999 and early January 2000 by al-Qaeda-linked jihadists.

BJP: Who freed 93,000 Pakistani POWs in 1971 without resolving Kashmir?

The Pakistani prisoners of war during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 were the servicemen deployed in the Eastern Command of the Pakistan armed forces who were held in by the Indian Army.

The overwhelming majority of war prisoners were officers, most of them were in the Army and Navy, while relatively small number of Air Force and Marines; others in larger number were being served in the paramilitary. India treated the war prisoners in accordance to the Geneva Convention, ruled 1925, but used this issue as a tool to coerce Pakistan into recognizing the sovereignty of Bangladesh after three countries reached compromised in 1974. The issue of war prisoners contributed in quick recognition of Bangladesh but it also had effects on India securing its eastern front from Pakistan-controlled hostile state, East-Pakistan, to India supported Bangladesh.

According to Pakistani observers and commentators, India, by taking and managing the ~97,000 war prisoners in Indian Army-ran camps, had gained itself a bargaining chip to remove its security threat faced by its eastern front by recognizing the sovereignty of the country, Bangladesh, they had intervened to help. However, according to Indian author, M. Ragostra, the war prisoners were actually more of liability than leverage since it became India's responsibility to protect and feed the prisoners that were in great numbers.

One may try to justify these decisions according to one’s political affiliation but that will not change the truth. Keep calm.

Trust Indian Army.

Source 1, Source 2

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