Police subdued three Pakistani student activists Monday after they tried to hijack a small plane to India to protest a possible nuclear test in their homeland.
The Fokker Friendship aircraft, with 29 people on board, sat on the tarmac of the airport in Hyderabad in southern Sindh province for eight hours while the hijackers negotiated with government officials.Army commandos overpowered the hijackers shortly before dawn. An army major was wounded and one of the hijackers slightly injured in a scuffle.
All the passengers were freed unharmed.
Pakistan International Airline Flight 554 originated at the small airports of Turbat and Gwador in the remote Pakistani province of Baluchistan and was en route to the southern port city of Karachi when the hijackers showed themselves. They had boarded the aircraft with pistols and grenades.
The crew of the plane told the hijackers that the plane had crossed into Indian territory and landed in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The hijackers wanted to go to New Delhi.
Throughout the standoff, the hijackers believed they were in India and were negotiating with Pakistan's ambassador to India, said defense ministry officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Their demands included a halt to plans for a possible nuclear test in Baluchistan.
There have been several demonstrations against testing in Baluchistan, many of them led by the Baluchistan Students Federation - a group to which the hijackers apparently belonged.
Baluchistani officials condemned the hijacking but said they sympathized with the hijackers' concerns.