The UPA-2 Government led by PM Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi had released 25 hardcore Pakistani terrorists lodged in various jails of Bharat to Pakistan in May, 2010 as a ‘goodwill gesture’ in an effort to ‘repair ties with Pakistan’. This shocking revelation was made in a recent news report –
“This was one “goodwill gesture” which spectacularly boomeranged on the UPA government. Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) terrorist Shahid Latif, chief handler of the fidayeen squad that attacked the Pathankot airbase in January 2016, was released by India in 2010 as part of the Manmohan Singh government’s effort to repair ties with Pakistan.
High-level sources told TOI that 47-year-old Latif, who was in an Indian jail for 11 years for acts of terrorism, was among 25 militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and JeM who were freed on May 28, 2010, as part of the Centre’s outreach to the hostile neighbour. They were lodged in jails in Jammu, Srinagar, Agra, Varanasi, Naini (UP) and Tihar, and were deported to Pakistan through Wagah.
Interestingly, Latif’s release was sought by the same Jaish terrorists who had hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814 and managed to get their chief, Maulana Masood Azhar, freed along with two others in exchange for 154 passengers in December 1999. However, the then Vajpayee government had refused to release Latif and 31 others on Jaish’s “wish list”.
Latif acts as main handler of JeM terrorists in India.
In 1999, the NDA government freed Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar and Omar Sheikh, an alumnus of London School of Economics who courted further notoriety by kidnapping and killing American journalist Daniel Pearl.
The AI hijack plot was conceived and executed with the support of ISI. However, what the Pakistani spy agency and its terrorist proxies could not accomplish by taking innocent passengers hostage, they managed to achieve by guile — by persuading the Manmohan Singh government that the release of Pakistanis detained in Indian jails on terror charges would be received well with their constituents and help create a conducive atmosphere for rapprochement.”
Why And How Was This Kept Secret For So Long?
Congress President Sonia Gandhi routinely tom-toms the RTI (Right to Information) Act passed by UPA-1 as one of the key achievements of the Congress under her rule. So why did her party and Government not share this decision to release 25 hardcore terrorists with the citizens of Bharat?
What was the compelling need to show ‘goodwill’ to Pakistan just 18 months after the dastardly 26/11/08 Mumbai terror attack (where 164 people were killed and 308 wounded), an attack that was carried out by terror org LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) in collaboration with ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency)?
Did we at least manage to free some of the Bharatiyas languishing in Pakistani jails like Sarabjit Singh (who died in 2013 in a Lahore jail) in return?
If this was a unilateral act of magnanimity by Bharat, why did we not publicize the release to build some kind of moral & international pressure on Pakistan to stop using Islamic terror as a weapon against Bharat?
Questions are aplenty, but sadly none of the big-shots in our media will bother or dare to question the Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi or ex-PM Manmohan Singh on this vital issue. Instead, the so-called ‘best & brightest’ of our media does what it does best – protect the Congress by misleading the public and creating false equivalences –
This man, Shekhar Gupta, was editor in chief of one of the leading English newspapers Indian Express, at the time this surreptitious deal between UPA and Pakistan was struck. He was the one who ran a fake ‘coup’ story in Indian Express to malign then Army Chief VK Singh who had rubbed various Congress leaders the wrong way. This profile of Gupta titled ‘How profit and principle shaped the journalism of Shekhar Gupta’ reveals his close relationship with P Chidambaram (senior Congress leader and former Finance & Home Minister in UPA-1 & 2) –
So it is no surprise that Shekhar Gupta and his fellow travelers in national media like Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt, Prannoy Roy, Sagarika Ghose, Karan Thapar, Shobhana Bharatiya etc. will try to suppress or deflect this damning revelation now – it beggars belief that this Lutyen’s Delhi cabal was unaware of this unconditional terrorist release back in 2010; most likely, they knew about it but kept mum so as not to displease their Congress paymasters or because they belong to the ‘Aman ki Asha’ with Pakistan peacenik camp.
What ISI couldn’t achieve through IC-814 hijack, UPA Gave on a platter ::
This is the most damning part of the whole story: The hijackers of IC-814 had demanded the NDA Government to release 35 terrorists in exchange of 154 hijacked passengers. The NDA negotiators brought the hijackers down to 3 terrorists (Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar and Omar Sheikh) who were finally released after an excruciating public drama played up in media wherein the families of the hijacked civilians pleaded directly with the Government. One of the terrorists which the NDA Government had refused to release was Shahid Latif, chief handler of JeM in Bharat – Latif was one of the 25 terrorists released as a ‘goodwill gesture’ by UPA-2 and he went on to handle the fidayeen squad that attacked the Pathankot airbase in January this year.
The skeletons are tumbling out of the Congress cupboard fast and thick now – while UPA was booted out of power due to mega-corruption and poor governance, the most serious damage they did was to our national security, both internal and external. The Ishrat Jehan saga, ‘saffron terror’ bogey, and now this unilateral release of 25 Pakistani jihadis – all episodes prove that Congress under its present leadership poses a clear threat to the nation; while one hopes that the wheels of justice will turn slowly and interminably to punish Sonia Gandhi and other senior Congress stalwarts, at least in the court of public opinion (i.e elections) the people of this country seem to have learnt this lesson as the recent assembly election results show.