Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday announced the repatriation of IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan after he was captured by Pakistani on Wednesday.
Speaking in the Parliament, PM Khan said that Pakistan government will release the IAF pilot Friday as a gesture of peace and "and as a first step to open negotiations". But, what will be the procedure of his release?
The brave IAF pilot is expected to enter India via Attari-Wagah border at around noon Friday. Here are the details of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on Wing Commander Abhinandan's handover and timing of his arrival.
As per SOP, the IAF officer will be brought to the Wagah border by the Pakistani army and handed over to the civilian authorities and representative of the Indian High Commission present at the border.
The civilian authorities will then hand him over to the Indian Border Security forces. Meanwhile, the time for the IAF pilot's arrival has been changed from 10 am to between 3-4 pm (Pakistani time).
Group captain JP Kurien who is an Air Attache to Pakistan is likely to be present at the Wagah border along with a delegation of IAF to receive the brave IAF pilot.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is also expected to receive Wing Commander Abhinandan at the border as he had tweeted his request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The father and mother of the IAF officer also reached Delhi Thursday night and will then go to Amritsar to welcome their son. The brave pilot is the son of decorated Air Marshal (Retd) S Varthaman.
Addressing a joint session of parliament PM Khan said that Pakistan government will release the IAF pilot Friday as a gesture of peace and "and as a first step to open negotiations" with India.
"In our desire for peace, I announce that tomorrow, as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody," Khan said on the floor of the House.
Expressing happiness over the announcement of the IAF officer's release, Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor in press conference held yesterday said, ""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 IAF pilot's release is being viewed as a big diplomatic win for India which mounted aggressive political and international pressure on Pakistan to release Wing Commander Abhinandan back home.
Commissioned into the IAF in the year 2004, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman showed exceptional valour by taking down much sophisticated J16 fighter jets of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in an aerial dogfight that ensued over the skies of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
While engaging PAF's aircraft, Abhinandan's burst into flames and came down swiftly, due to which he had to eject and descend on Pakistani territory.Myriad videos and pictures have gone viral on social media where the IAF pilot was seen being captured and held captive by Pakistani villagers before handing him over to the Pakistani army.