Pakistan to release captive IAF pilot tomorrow
28 February 2019
Pakistan has offered to return Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is currently in the custody of Pakistani Army officials, on Friday, after the Pakistani authorities found a bargaining over the captive Indian Air Force officer is not a feasible option.
Addressing Pakistan’s National Assembly, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will return to India on Friday. This, he maintained, is part of his government’s efforts to de-escalate the rising tension between the two countries.
"As a peace gesture, I announce that tomorrow (Friday), and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody," Imran Khan told the Assembly.
Reports, meanwhile, said Imran Khan will be calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone.
The Indian government has been maintaining that it will not be negotiating for Wing Commander’s release.
Reports also said after Wednesday’s failed retaliatory attempt, Pakistan once again violated the Indian airspace in the Krishna Ghati sector along the Line of Control. Two jets tried to enter but were chased out by the Indian Air Force aircraft.
A day after Indian Air Force bombed terror training camps across the Line of Control in Pakistan, attempted a retaliation, escalating the conflict. Both nations also shot down each other's warplanes. While India shot down a Pak F-16 fighter jet it also lost the MoG-21 it used to shoot down the plane. Pakistan also captured the IAF pilot after his plane was brought down the air combat.
A statement from India`s foreign ministry said the pilot`s treatment was a "vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention," ordering his immediate release.