Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan army on Wednesday after the fighter jet he was flying was shot down in an ambush over PoK, will be released tomorrow. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the release of IAF pilot Abhinandan while addressing the nation's parliament on Thursday. IAF pilot Abhinandan will return to India tomorrow through the Wagah border.
In his address, Khan said that Wing Commander Abhinandan will be released on Friday as a gesture of peace. This was unanimously supported by the Pakistan parliament. He said this is a first step to open negotiations between India and Pakistan. Imran Khan said that he tried to talk to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi as escalation was not in their interests nor in India's.
In his address, Khan once again urged India to not escalate the tension with Pakistan. "I am requesting the Indian dispensation to not escalate [military action] from this point. Because then we will be forced to respond and retaliate, and that will not be a happy situation for both nations," Imran Khan said.
"The Indian media has not seen what we have been through. Otherwise, they would have known warmongering and war-hysteria are of no consequence to anybody. And with the warfare we have and India has, we should not even think of wars," he further added.
This development comes just before a press briefing by Indian defence forces scheduled today. Representatives from the Indian Armed Forces, Navy and Air Force will talk to media personnel at 7:00pm today.
Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan was captured yesterday after a dogfight with Pakistan Air Force aircraft violating Indian air space. Reports suggest that he was chasing two Pakistani fighter jets in a MiG21 Bison jet when he was lured into an ambush and brought down by air defence systems. His plane crashed in PoK and he was taken in custody by Pakistani army.
Pakistani Army had earlier claimed to have two IAF pilots in its custody but later revealed that only Wing Commander Abhinandan has been captured. India's Ministry of External Affairs had called Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Syed Haider Shah yesterday and demanded Abhinandan's safe and immediate release.