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Episodes
  • Episode 1

    May 20 2021
    A routine domestic flight preparing for take-off, a broken metal detector, and three nervous men rushing to the departure date.
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    25 mins
  • Episode 2

    May 20 2021
    The plane is on Soviet soil surrounded by tanks and guns. But whose side are the authorities on, the passengers or the hijackers?
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    28 mins
  • Episode 3

    May 20 2021
    The hijackers’ demands, the political prisoners and the fight for democracy.
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    29 mins

Publisher's Summary

In 1981, PK326 was on a routine domestic flight from Karachi, Pakistan when it was hijacked and diverted to Afghanistan. The 148 passengers were then held at gunpoint for 13 days in what turned into one of the longest hijackings in history. The hijackers claimed to be fighting for democracy and demanded the release of political prisoners. But when Pakistan’s Military dictator General Zia refused, the killing began.

Veteran journalist Owen Bennett-Jones investigates what happened inside the plane, who the hijackers were really working for, and digs deep into the political crisis in Pakistan that led to the hijacking.

This series contains some strong language and scenes that some listeners may find disturbing.

©2021 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2021 Audible Originals, LLC

Dear Listener,

What am I excited for you to discover in this story?
"The 1981 hijack of PK 326 by three young men as it flew from Karachi to Peshawar set in motion a tense drama for the world’s media. But behind the headlines there was so much more going on. For the hijackers it was a chance to escape working-class lives and become world famous. For the organizer—son of the hanged socialist leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto—there was the hope of avenging his father’s death at the hands of a military dictator and even of restoring democracy. For the politicians and generals who had to react to the hijacking, there was the issue of whether their regime’s authority would be fatally undermined by making concessions. But most of all, for the hijacked passengers there was the question: who would live and who would die?" –Owen Bennett-Jones, author of The Hijack

Watch the trailer for The Hijack

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About the Creator and Performer

Owen Bennett-Jones is a multi-award-winning freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC presenter, he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi, and Beirut. His first book, on the history of Pakistan, is now its third edition. His podcast on the murder of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, The Assassination, was given a gold award at the British podcast awards. Most recently, he wrote a history on Pakistan's Bhutto dynasty, published by Yale University Press. He has taught at Princeton University and the University of South California.

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What listeners say about The Hijack

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Not just about a hijacking

This is about complexity, grief and how the decision of one impacts so many. Beautifully done.

5 people found this helpful

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Empathy

As someone that still suffers with PTSD due to an event the occurred over 40 years ago I truly empathize with Jeffrey. While I would never traumatize my fellow human beings as he did, I do understand his deep need for other people to FEEL the earth shattering experience of what I suffered thru. While our experiences are very different, there are some things that occur in life that forever change you to your very core, And to walk away from this hijacking not psychologically damaged in some way would have been a miracle. You want people to understand what you've been through, to share your grief. I used to think that if enough time passed, if I thought about it enough, if I talked about it enough, it would release me. I'm still waiting.
I hope that the survivors of the hijacking have found some semblance of peace.

4 people found this helpful

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A gripping factual story of a hijacked plane

In 10 episodes it takes the reader from inside the airport to the final aftermath. Some of the survivors, both passengers and hijackers are interviewed and they and the writer take you through the gripping story of the longest hijacking in history. The politics, the events on and off the plane and how lives were affected are all woven in an expert narrative.

3 people found this helpful

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Outstanding Podcast Series!

The podcast series "The Hijack" hosted by Owen Bennett-Jones is outstanding. This series isn't something I'd normally choose, but partway into episode 1, I was hooked. There are a total of 10 episodes, each one perfect in length for those who prefer to listen over morning coffee or as they drive to work. I found the information to be very well-researched and the interviews to be thorough, yet not too thorough to give away the details of the next episode.

In terms of the recording quality and content, everything was easy to hear and understand. The pacing and volume were great, making for a seamless listening experience. Unfortunately, my prior knowledge of this incident was lacking, so between episodes, I chose to research some of the things I was confused about, which not only deepened my understanding of the events, but also my interest in them.

I highly recommend "The Hijack" podcast series hosted by Owen Bennett-Jones to listeners of nonfiction, specifically documentaries and retellings of historical events. Those interested in stories of the human condition, governmental relations, and true crime will also find this podcast series to be very worth their while. Without hesitation, I give it a rating of 5/5 stars across the board.

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful.

2 people found this helpful

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Hijacker as asylum seeker

I’m very disgusted by the reporter’s agreement to keep details secret of the hijacker trying to get asylum in Europe. Do the EU authorities considering his case know about his past? And even if they do, shouldn’t the citizens of this unnamed EU country where he is living know about his past and have a say about whether he gets to stay? I also have no sympathy for his ordeal at sea to get to Europe. He didn’t have sympathy for his victims. Most “hot headed” 24 year olds don’t hijack planes or do anything illegal. The story does a good job of exploring all sides but Bennett-Jones gets preachy in talking about the plight of the 3rd hijacker. I’m disgusted by that.

2 people found this helpful

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Exhilarating

Amazing 10 episodes. Every detail is very well documented and delivered. Kudos to Owen Benett Jones!

1 person found this helpful

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A Great History Podcast

This ten episode podcast shows a lot of the potential of the podcast medium as Bennett-Jones explores what occurs when three men hijacked airplane in 1981 in an effort to force democratization in Pakistan. In many ways, the cause is one that reverberates well in western civilization—the quest for political freedom and the rights that come with it—however, kidnapping and murder are not tools that human rights advocates favor. In each of the ten episodes, Bennett-Jones explores the background to the crisis and the day-by-day development of the event through a combination of narration and actual interviews with survivors and even one of the hijackers. The whole thing is a tragedy however you look at it, but the podcast is absolutely riveting.

1 person found this helpful

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Whoa....

these audible originals are getting better and better. time to look for a new one.

1 person found this helpful

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Very thorough balanced analysis

It was a well done balanced analysis which focused on the suffering of all of the victims of the hijack with being too biased toward one side or the other (something that can be done while being factual).

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Fascinating Story

I grew up in the 70s and 80s. I consider myself to be a history nut but I had never heard of this story. It was so well done that I binged the entire series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tracy
  • 06-06-21

Gripping

A really interesting read, great narration and really piqued my interest on other podcasts by Owen Bennett Jones and his research over the years. listened to the Hijack in a morning and then the Assassination. Sad how many of the hostages are still affected by their time on this plane. Not sure how I feel that one if the hijackers now wants asylum in Europe.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-29-21

very well written and read

never heard about this hijacking before. it was excellently described and in lots of detail

7 people found this helpful

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  • Sunflower
  • 05-29-21

fantastic investigative journalism

.. though on occasion repetitive the actual factual work up is solid
the human aspects highly moving..
and the overall work highly commendable!
- thank you

5 people found this helpful

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  • Smudge01
  • 05-27-21

A Fascinating and Detailed Snapshot of History

This is an excellently researched, produced and captivatingly told story with a poignant ending.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Scopesie
  • 06-30-21

Outstanding Series

Really compelling story brilliantly told. This was basically a tragedy from every perspective, and the real beauty of the series as presented in the Audible production is that the story tries to give at least a hint of all those perspectives. So we hear from victims, participants, and those whose lives were touched by the hijack some 40 years later. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bo
  • 06-23-21

Terrifying story

Very emotional and heartbreaking story. Not for everyone. I feel sorry for all the people involved

1 person found this helpful

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  • Plodder7
  • 10-06-21

Well researched

Great account and interesting peek into history of Pakistan. Well paced and addictive. Highly recommended.

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  • ck
  • 08-22-21

Stretched out way more than needed.

This was an interesting story but could have been told in half the number of episodes. It felt repetitive and dragged out.

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  • EC Ward
  • 08-17-21

Gripping.

This gripping account was told in a clear and engaging way ,informing the listener of the background to the hijack and the hijack itself. Owen Bennett-Jones is a fantastic journalist who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the politics of Pakistan. (listen to Assassination on the BBC) and this is a brilliant piece of work. Gripping from the start. Highly recommended.

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  • Lorena Perez
  • 08-16-21

Excellent docupodcast

Loved every minute of this docupodcast. I binge listened in 2 days. I recommend it.