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Pakistan Hangs Three For Hijacking

Pakistan has executed three Baluch separatists convicted of hijacking a plane in 1998 in an attempt to force Islamabad to halt nuclear tests in their region.

Two of the men, Shahsawar Baluch and Sabir Baluch, were hanged in Hyderabad, and the third, Shabir Rind, was hanged in Karachi.

Amnesty International protested the killings, saying recent executions are being used to "silence political dissent" and cover up human rights violations.

Amnesty said the government has executed 140 people since it ended a moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014 after the Taliban massacred 154 schoolchildren in Peshawar.

The trio were sentenced to death for hijacking a Pakistan International plane in May 1998, four days before the country's first nuclear test.

The men stormed the cockpit of the plane in Gwadar, Baluchistan, and tried to force the pilot to fly to India.

But he instead flew to Hyderabad, and army commandoes overpowered the hijackers the next day.

Officials denied the hijacking had anything to do with the nuclear tests, and said the hijackers were pushing for greater autonomy for Baluchistan.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa