9 December 2023
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Pakistan will release captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman today (Friday) as a gesture of peace towards New Delhi and a step showing deescalation in favour of regional peace.
The move was announced Thursday by Prime Minister Imran Khan at a joint session of Parliament after Pakistan a day prior had shot down two Indian aircraft that had crossed the Line on Control (LoC) and captured Wing Commander Abhinandan — something that came as an unexpected setback for India.
Abhinandan would be handed over at Wagah border crossing to officials of the Indian High Commission.
On the other side of the border, according to BBC, Indian officials have said they were “extremely happy” that their pilot would be released.
While Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had commented that “India does not wish to see further escalation of the situation”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to make a public comment.
De-escalation efforts shouldn’t be considered weakness
PM Imran while addressing the joint session of Parliament, had urged India in a message not to escalate the situation. “Don’t take this any further, Pakistan will be forced to retaliate.”
The premier had also noted that the de-escalation efforts made by Pakistan should not be considered the country’s weakness. “Despite us opening the Kartarpur corridor, we received no response from India,” he said.
“When the Pulwama attack happened, we were blamed within 30 minutes,” the premier had lamented. “I asked them to share evidence.”
“We did not want to inflict any casualty on India as we wanted to act in a responsible manner. I had said that if India does something then we will respond,” he had asserted.

Abdul Gh Lone