INTRODUCTION: Three gunmen holding more than 100 passengers ion board a hijacked Pakistani airliner have set 1600 GMT on Thursday (12 March) as the final deadline for meeting their demands.
CU ZOOM GV EXT Syrian flag flying at Damascus airport.
GV Aircraft on tarmac. (2 SHOTS)
GV People watching.
GV Aircraft on tarmac.
GV Aircraft on tarmac at Kabul. (2 SHOTS)
SV INT United Nations representatives in Kabul control tower listening to hostage on plane speaking over intercom.
GV Negotiators listening to hijackers over intercom and aircraft on tarmac. (SOF OVERLAID). (2 SHOTS)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT): SEQ. 6: HOSTAGE: "The men are carrying grenades with them all the time, in other words the slightest slip-up or threat of any action on the other side could lead to the detonation of a grenade international. It is an extremely dangerous situation."
SEQ. 7: HIJACKER: "You people had better not go over your deadline (INDISTINCT). We are not going to have it. (INDISTINCT) you go and contact the Pakistan government."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Three gunmen holding more than 100 passengers ion board a hijacked Pakistani airliner have set 1600 GMT on Thursday (12 March) as the final deadline for meeting their demands. An official statement issued by the Syrian government said a high-level Pakistani government delegation was flying to Damascus to negotiate with the hijackers, who are demanding the release of 55 people from Pakistani jails.
SYNOPSIS: The scene of the hijack drama switched to Damascus airport on Monday (9 March) after the Pakistani Airlines Boeing 720 had been taken over by gunmen on March 2, and diverted to Kabul from its domestic flight route in Pakistan. For the past two days the plane has been parked on an auxiliary runway at Damascus. Since then two deadlines set by the gunmen have passed.
Troops have moved a little closer to the plane and there was a continuous movement of airport vehicles around it. But the government has ruled out military action as a way of ending the longest aviation hijack in history.
When the plane was still at Kabul airport, United Nations representatives were able to speak to one of the passengers and a hijacker.
The hijacker reiterated his threat of drastic consequences should the deadline not be kept. In the event the deadline passed and the plane took off for Syria.