After the hijacking

Abetting terrorism? India is right that Pakistan cannot be allowed to have it both ways.

January 06, 2000

AIR travel is less safe after the hijacking of an Indian airliner on Christmas Eve succeeded. The hijackers attained a major demand and got away. Others will be tempted to do the same.

The peace of the world is less secure because, in the aftermath, two nations that have fought three wars and now have nuclear weapons are hurling accusations.

There is India accusing Pakistan of supporting terrorists in general and these in particular. There is Pakistan, claiming weakly that the hijacking was a put-up job by India to foment trouble.

Afghanistan, unrecognized by most of the world except Pakistan, played a responsible role in ending the trauma, then let the hijackers go free.

Two of three prisoners released by India to save 155 hostages have appeared in Pakistan. The five hijackers are rumored by sympathizers to be in Afghanistan, which says they went to Pakistan.

India's patient negotiating saved lives, most of them Indian, after the murder of one left no doubt about the peril. The Indian Airlines pilot, Capt. Devi Sharan, was a cool-headed hero throughout the ordeal.

But in acceding to some of the terrorists' demands, India spurned the conventional wisdom that any concession validates terrorism. Until these terrorists are caught and prosecuted, the world will live with the consequence.

Having called Pakistan responsible, India with restraint is not taking unilateral action, as the United States did after the bombing of its embassies in East Africa.

Rather, India is urging the world community to isolate Pakistan as a rogue state for supporting terrorism, promising evidence while so far providing none.

Pakistan and Afghanistan support the secessionist goals of the insurrectionists in India-occupied Kashmir, while claiming not to aid the terrorism. They must make good on this disavowal with respect to these hijackers.

To protect the skies and seas for all peoples, the United States has returned hijackers to Cuba despite sympathizing with their political goals.

Until Pakistan and Afghanistan do the same, they stand, if not guilty, at least suspect.

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