INTRODUCTION: A hijacked Pakistan airliner remained on the tarmac at Damascus Airport in Syria on Monday (9 March) with no sign of the 111 hostages being released.
GVs Small aircraft taxiing in and freed hostages leaving. (3 SHOTS)
SV Woman leaves plane and sits in wheel-chair.
GVs Security forces march to plane and take body to vehicle. (3 SHOTS)
GV President Zia at news conference watched by reporters. (2 SHOTS)
CU Zia speaking in English with press listening. (5 SHOTS)
SV PULL BACK TO GV Control tower of Damascus airport.
GV Hijacked plane on tarmac. (3 SHOTS)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT): (SEQ 5): ZIA: "The reaction to this incident and the support we expected under such circumstances has not been forthcoming, which is unfortunate. But there are interested parties which are not happy in seeing Pakistan turning out to be a stable and steady regime, or steady country, so that it progresses further and it can achieve its eventual aim of peaceful transfer of power from the military authorities to the civil regime. People are not interested in this. And some of our own, unfortunately, are those individuals who believe in the politics of violence. I, at least, to the best of my ability, will not allow them to succeed. This is my utmost intention, and Inshallah I will succeed in that."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: A hijacked Pakistan airliner remained on the tarmac at Damascus Airport in Syria on Monday (9 March) with no sign of the 111 hostages being released. More than a week after they had seized the plane on an internal flight in Pakistan, the three hijackers showed no sign of giving in, and were still demanding the release of dozens of political detainees. They threatened to take 'severe measures' against their captives unless their demands were granted.
SYNOPSIS: Last week the hijackers released 32 hostages from the plane in Kabul where they had ordered the pilot to fly. The hostages returned to Pakistan in a light aircraft from the Afghan capital, but two stewardesses and a Pakistani woman whose son is the flight engineer volunteered to stay on board. During the week the plane stayed in Kabul, the hijackers threatened to blow up the plane.
The deadline was allowed to pass after the leader of the hijackers had met the Iraqi Ambassador to Afghanistan and a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. But the threats continued, and the hijackers made it clear they were serious when they shot one of the hostages.
The body of Tariq Rahim, a young diplomat, was flown to Peshawar in Pakistan's Frontier Province from Kabul, on Saturday (7 March). A military guard of honour was at the airport to provide an escort. His body arrived only a few hours after the Pakistani government announced that it had agreed to meet some of the terrorists' demands. Offered the release of 15 prisoners, the hijackers demanded freedom for another 43.
In Islamabad, Pakistan's President Zia criticised Afghanistan's attitude and referred to the terrorists as enemies of his regime.
The Pakistan International Airlines plane arrived in Syria during the night on Monday morning (9 March). Food was provided, but the plane was not refuelled.
Syrian officials denied reports that Murtaza Bhutto, son of the executed Pakistani Prime Minister, was on board the aircraft. The Pakistani government sent negotiators to Damascus, but there was confusion over the number of prisoners the hijackers wanted released.