Mumbai : Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Friday “thanked” leaders like Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, George Fernandes and former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra for enlightening the nation on the “truth” behind the Kandahar episode involving the 1999 hijack of an Indian Airlines aircraft.
Speaking to media persons here Friday evening, Pawar said: “It cannot happen that the then home minister L.K. Advani was not aware of the release of the terrorists in exchange for the hostages held captive in the IC-814 Kathmandu-New Delhi flight.”
He pointed out that the then Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting in which Advani was present, comprised former prime minister A.B. Vajpayee, Fernandes, Singh, Sinha and Mishra.
“All were present when the decision was taken. Now, four of them, Singh, Sinha, Fernandes and Mishra, have spoken the truth. Moreover, without the consent of the (then) home minister Advani, the arrested prisoners (including Jaish-E-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar) could never have been released,” Pawar said.
Pawar sarcastically remarked that the BJP, which claims to be a party with a difference, has proved that it is “indeed different when it came to handling the nation’s security” at the time of the IC aircraft hijack.
He further said that Advani’s explanation that “he was not aware of” and “he did now know” of the terrorist-hostage swap decision are not correct. Pawar also expressed his gratitude for the patriotism displayed by the four men by speaking out the truth.