9th March 1997
LONDON: Hashim Qureshi, charged with hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Pakistan in 1971, has said that he plans to return to India soon. "I am prepared to face any charges that the government of India might bring against me,"
Qureshi, who now lives in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam after being asked to leave the country by Pakistani authorities said. "My mission is to be with my people in this hour of crises, seek to remove barriers being forced between communities in Jammu and Kashmir by fundamentalist forces and contribute towards a comprehensive settlement of the Kashmir issue," Quershi said.
The Indian authorities have lodged two cases against Qureshi who is wanted in connection with the hijacking of the Jammu-bound Indian Airlines Fokker friendship aircraft in 1971. The ill-fated aircraft was set on fire at Lahore airport after all the passengers were released unharmed.
Qureshi recently in his book claims that he had told a special trial court in Lahore that it was the Pakistani security agencies who had burnt down the hijacked aircraft. Qureshi was confident that Indian authorities cannot trial him for the same charge twice.