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Second hijacker of IC 814 killed? What we know about this viral claim

Social media users were speculating that one more Indian Airlines IC-814 flight hijacker Zafarullah Jamali was killed, days after reports of killing of Zahoor Mistry were confirmed.

On Wednesday, social media platforms were rife with reports that the second hijacker of Indian plane IC-814 – Zafarullah Jamali, has been killed in Karachi by some unknown people.

There were reports that some unidentified men riding a motorcycle had killed Harkat-ul-Mujahideen terrorist Zafarullah Jamali last week in Karachi. The reports claimed that the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen terrorist Jamali, who had led the IC-814 hijacking, had killed an Indian passenger – Rupin Katyal when the plane was in Dubai, where the terrorists had forced the plane to land in December 1999.

Social media users and security experts claimed that the assassination of Jamali was the second assassination of IC-814, which came after the killing of another hijacker Zahoor Mistry who was killed on March first week.

However, Zafarullah Jamali does not appear to be a second hijacker who has been killed as being speculated on social media. Reportedly, no terrorist was identified as Zafarullah Jamali had been involved in the IC-814 hijacking. There are speculations that no second terrorist was killed, instead, it was Zahoor Mistry, one of the hijackers of Indian Airlines flight IC 814, who was killed in Pakistan.

According to the New Indian journalist Pramod Kumar Singh, Zahoor Mistry’s alias was Jamali who was killed sometime back and it was confirmed on March 7.

Mistry is reported to have been killed on March first week by two bike-borne assailants in Karachi’s Akhtar colony. 

More importantly, nearly two decades after the hijacking, there is no confirmation till today there was any terrorist named Zafarullah Jamali had involved in the hijacking. The IC-814 airline was hijacked by five Harkat-ul-Mujahideen terrorists, who took the Indian Airlines flight to Kandahar in Afghanistan on December 24, 1999, after a brief stop at Amritsar.

The five hijackers are – Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar’s brother Ibrahim Azhar, Rauf Asghar, Zahoor Mistry, Shahid Akhtar Sayed and another terrorist who was killed during the 2001 Indian Parliament attack.

According to counter-terrorism experts, only Ibrahim Azhar and Shahid Akhtar Sayed are alive in Pakistan, with the latter moving away from Karachi to settle in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area of Pakistan. Rauf Asghar is believed to have died due to natural causes, while Indian security forces killed the other Harkat-ul-Mujahideen terrorist on December 13, 2001.

The fifth terrorist who remained at large was Zahoor Mistry, who was killed by unknown assailants in the first week of March in Karachi. Hence, it appears that the speculations about the second terrorist – Zafarullah Jamali- are not accurate as there are no records to prove his existence in the first place. On the contrary, it is suggested that Mistry was eliminated by unknown gunmen, whose images are then being circulated on social media to claim that it is the second hijacker Jamali.

HT report on Zahoor Mistry

A March 8 Hindustan Times report identifies Zahoor Mistry as Jamali. The image of the slain terrorist also appears similar to the image of ‘Zafarullah Jamali’ being shared widely on social media.

Interestingly, there is also confusion among certain sections that the killed Harkat-ul-Mujahideen terrorist was the same as Zafarullah Jamali, the 15th Prime Minister of Pakistan. However, former PM Zafarullah Jamali died on December 2, 2020, ending rumours of former PM being killed in Karachi last week and having been mistaken for a terrorist. There are also no reports to suggest the former Prime Minister of Pakistan was involved in any terrorist activities, officially.

The hijacking of Indian Airlines plane IC-814

On December 24, 1999, an Indian Airlines plane (IC-814) was highjacked by five terrorists belonging to the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen from Nepal. The plane which was supposed to reach Delhi made suspicious stops at Lahore, Amritsar and Dubai before being stationed at Afghanistan’s Kandahar, which was under the control of the Taliban.

Around 178 people and 11 crew members aboard the plane were made hostages for a week while it ended after India was forced to release three JeM terrorists like Masood Azhar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar from its custody. The hijackers demanded the release of thirty-five terrorists from Indian prisons, including the dreaded terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar in addition to US$200mn in cash. The hostage ended on December 31, 1999, after a team of Indian negotiators, including the present NSA Ajit Doval, agreed to free three terrorists.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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