According to an announcement made by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday, Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured after his plane was shot down in Pakistan will be returning today. This move was made by Imran Khan “gesture of peace” to de-escalate the rising tensions between India and Pakistan. Pakistani authorities will be escorting him and return him via a joint check post at Wagah Border.
In the announcement, Khan said, “In our desire of peace, I announce that tomorrow, and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody,”
Abhinandan Varthaman’s Mig-21 bison was shot down by Pakistan’s Air defence. On Wednesday, Pakistani F-16 tried to infiltrate Indian Air Space and target several military installations. However, this infiltration attempt was thwarted by the “swift reaction” of Indian Air Force said Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor. While thwarting Pakistani fighter Abhinandan Varthaman’s intercepted one of the F-16s but his Mig-21 was shot down when he accidentally crossed the LOC.
On Thursday, Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor told the media in a press conference, “We are happy that our pilot who had fallen across the Line of Control and was in the custody of Pakistan is being released. We are extremely happy to have him back. We only see it as a gesture which is in consonance with the Geneva Conventions.”
The Cheif Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh also said, “It will be a honour for me to go and receive him.”
Dear @narendramodi ji , I’m touring the border areas of Punjab & I’m presently in Amritsar. Came to know that @pid_gov has decided to release #AbhinandanVartaman from Wagha. It will be a honour for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are alumnus of the NDA as I am.
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) February 28, 2019
According to Pakistani Authorities, the time of Abhinandan Varthaman’s has not been released but they have said that they will be escorting him to India on Friday Afternoon.