Pakistan will take a call on detained IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's status as Prisoner of War in a few days. Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal has said that the IAF officer is "safe and healthy" and the government will decide if he is a POW or not in the coming days, Dawn reported.
"India has raised the matter of the pilot with us. We'll decide in a couple of days what convention will apply to him and whether to give him Prisoner of War status or not," Dr Faisal said.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured from Horra'n village (barely 7 Kms from the LoC) in Bhimber district of PoK after ejecting from his jet which caught fire in a mid-air dogfight with Pakistani fighters.
According to Pakistani media sources, officials will assess all legal aspects as well as bilateral and international agreements before taking a final call on the IAF pilot's status, including if the Geneva Conventions would be applied to him or not.
In an interview to Dunya News, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has the authority to decide on this matter.
If declared a POW the IAF pilot will have to be released by Pakistan under Article 13-16 of the Geneva Convention. However, the power to decide on the same rests with Pakistan.
The last POW Pakistan had detained was Flight Lieutenant Kambampati Nachiketa during Kargil war after his MiG-27 suffered a flameout while targeting Pakitan's enemy positions in Batalik subsector of PoK. He was taken to custody by a senior Pakistani military officer but repatriated by the country after eight days.