Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi identifies pilots whom he claims shot two Indian fighter jets

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari praised Squadron Leader Siddiqui for downing the IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

Published: 07th March 2019 01:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2019 01:31 AM   |  A+A-

Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. (Photo | AFP)


ISLAMABAD: For the first time, Pakistan on Wednesday identified its two fighter pilots who were involved in aerial combat with the Indian Air Force jets as Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Parliament that two Indian planes were shot down by them.

Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14. India launched a counter-terror operation in Balakot on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in aerial combat and captured its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was handed over to India on March 1.

Lauding the PAF pilots in the National Assembly, Qureshi said, "Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian aircraft violating the Pakistani airspace. One Indian jet was shot down by Squadron Leader Hassan Siddiqui while other was downed by Wing Commander Nauman Ali Khan."

Qureshi officially identified Wing Commander Nauman Ali Khan as the Pakistan Air Force pilot who shot down the second Indian fighter jet in the dogfight last week, Dawn News reported. Pakistani military on February 27 claimed that two Indian IAF were hit.

One plane crashed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir while the other fell in Jammu and Kashmir after being hit. India has maintained that Pakistan downed a MiG-21 aircraft of the IAF while Indian Air Force shot down an F-16 jet of the PAF during the dogfight.

The foreign minister made the statement after Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, during his speech, praised Squadron Leader Siddiqui for downing the IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's MiG-21 jet on February 27. "One clarification: Bilawal paid tribute to Hassan Siddiqui as he's absolutely a national hero," Qureshi said. "But I would like to clarify that two Indian planes were shot down. The other one was shot down by Wg Cdr Nauman Ali Khan," he added, asking that the second pilot also is given due credit.

Qureshi, responding to Bilawal's claim that Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken a risk by prematurely releasing the Indian pilot, said: "This was discussed and we did it in Pakistan's interest. "We thought by doing that we would be (sending) a message of de-escalation and that message went loud and clear and was appreciated all over the world," the foreign minister said.

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.)


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 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 are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of 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. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp