ISLAMABAD - The October 1999 plane hijacking conspiracy, in which the former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been named a convict, was pre-planned by the army, the Pakistan Supreme Court has been told.
During the hearing of the appeal filed by Sharif against his conviction in the hijacking case, Sharif’’s lawyer Khawaja Haris told a five-member bench of the court that the Pakistan Army had pre-planned the hijacking, and the replacement of the chief of army staff was merely a means to channelise the whole episode.
Haris said the then Army chief, General Pervez Musharraf, had hatched plans to topple the Sharif government in advance.
“If the conspiracy was not pre-planned, how did they take charge of Pakistan Television (PTV) just 30 minutes after the appointment of the new army chief?” The Daily Times quoted Haris, as saying.
He said that Sharif had only ordered a diversion of the plane, which was also ‘evident’ by his protocol officer’s statement, and by the pilot of the plane.
Sharif, as a deposed Prime Minister, was convicted on a charge of hijacking by the Sindh High Court after he ordered that an aircraft bringing the then Chief of Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf from Sri Lanka, should not be allowed to land in Karachi.
He was subsequently dismissed and given a life sentence which was commuted after he agreed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia.
Sharif was also disqualified from contesting elections because of his conviction in the plane hijacking case, but later the Supreme Court quashed the verdict, and declared him eligible for contesting elections. (ANI)