New Delhi — A special court at Lahore on Monday rejected the defense applications challenging its jurisdiction to try the five hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane to Lahore in 1981. Radio Pakistan reported.

The special judge Mr. Fazal Karim said it was within the court’s jurisdiction to try the hijackers as the crime was committed in Pakistan.

He gave this ruling while disposing of the applications submitted by the counsel for the hijackers, Mr. S.M. Zafar and Mr. Abdul Basit.

The West Punjab province Advocate General, Mr. Rashed Aziz Khan, who was the chief public prosecutor, said the court was fully competent to prosecute the accused. The accused were present in the court at the time of hearing which has been adjourned till Tuesday. Justice Rashed Aziz Khan had on Sunday cited the example of 1971 hijacking of an Indian plane and maintained that Pakistan had signed the ‘Hague convention’”’ to prove that the trial of foreigners arrested on the charges of hijacking was not beyond the jurisdiction of Pakistani courts.

Mr. Khan told the court that the offense of hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane in September 1981 had started in Indian air space but ended on Pakistani territory. The defense counsels challenged the jurisdiction of the special court to hear the case of the five hijackers on the ground that the crime was committed outside Pakistani air space.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1985