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1-min read

'Who Released JeM Chief?' Sidhu Reminds BJP of Kandahar Episode After Drawing Flak for Pulwama Comments

Sidhu was referring to the Kandahar hijacking episode of 1999 when the Jaish founder was released by Vajpayee-led NDA government in exchange for passengers of the Indian Airlines IC-814 that was hijacked and flown to Kandahar.

News18.com

Updated:February 19, 2019, 2:33 PM IST
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New Delhi: Lashing out at critics for branding him "anti-national" over his stand on Pulwama attack, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said on Monday that these people should tell who had handed Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar to Pakistan in 1999.

"Those who are branding me as anti-national should tell the people as to who had handed him (Azhar) over to Pakistan. What they (BJP) had been doing all these years to get at him," he asked.

Sidhu was referring to the Kandahar hijacking episode of 1999 when the Jaish founder was released by Vajpayee-led NDA government in exchange for passengers of the Indian Airlines IC-814 that was hijacked and flown to Kandahar.

Azhar founded Jaish in 2000 with help from Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI, the then Taliban regime in Afghanistan and also Osama Bin Laden. But two years later, Pakistan was forced to ban the outfit after the United States of America declared it a terror outfit towards the end of 2001.

"I want to ask who released those involved in 1999 Kandahar incident? Whose responsibility is it? Our fight is against them. Why should a soldier die? Why can't there be a permanent solution? Terrorism has no community. The issue is not what I am saying — the issue is this (terrorism). Our fight is against those who claimed responsibility (for 1999 attack). It is my fight as well," the minister further said.

"I am firm on my stand. Terrorism shouldn't be tolerated," he added.

The Congress leader had drawn flak with his comment that a nation cannot be held responsible for the acts of terrorists, which was seen to support Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan (a former cricket legend) despite New Delhi's strong resolve to work for Pakistan's isolation.

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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