Pakistan to release IAF pilot Abhinandan tomorrow: PM Imran Khan

The surprise announcement during a joint session of Parliament came barely an hour after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Prime Minister Khan is ready to talk to his Indian counterpart.

Published: 28th February 2019 05:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2019 05:14 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Pakistan PM Imran Khan (File | AP)

By PTI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minster Imran Khan Thursday announced that IAF's captured pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be released on Friday as a "gesture of peace".

The surprise announcement during a joint session of Parliament came barely an hour after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Prime Minister Khan is ready to talk to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to de-escalate Indo-Pak tensions.

As the opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif took the floor of the House, Prime Minister Khan apologised for interrupting and said he wishes to announce that the Indian pilot captured by Pakistan Air Force on Wednesday will be released Friday as a "peace gesture".

The announcement was greeted by thumping of desks by Pakistani lawmakers.

ALSO READ | Pakistan PM Imran Khan cautions India against 'miscalculation'; offers talk to defuse tensions

Earlier, Qureshi said that Pakistan is willing to consider returning the captured IAF pilot if it leads to "de-escalation" of tensions with India.

Pakistan detained Wing Commander Varthaman following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control when his MiG 21 fighter jet was downed.

Pakistan's Foreign Office (FO) said that the Indian Air Force pilot was safe and sound.

"The armed forces rescued him from the mob that went after him after his plane crashed in Kashmir," the FO said.

WATCH: Pakistan couldn't let India be judge, jury and execution, Imran on Wednesday's retaliation

India Wednesday summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan and demanded immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot who was detained by Pakistan following an aerial engagement by air forces of the two countries.

It has also been made clear to Pakistan that no harm should be caused to the Indian defence personnel, the External Affairs Ministry said in New Delhi, adding that it has conveyed strong objection to the neighbouring country at the "vulgar display" of an injured personnel in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp