Pakistan’s olive branch: Captured Indian pilot Abhinandan handed back
LAHORE: Pakistani officials on Friday night handed over Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman to Indian counterparts at Wahga Border crossing, ARY News reported.
Amid tight security, the Indian pilot was transported to Wahga Border after his traveling documents were finalised by Pakistani officials.
The release of pilot Abhinandan is a gesture of peace from Pakistan, in order to de-escalate the soaring tensions with New Delhi.
The announcement to release the captured pilot was made on Thursday by Prime Minister Imran Khan during a joint session of parliament.
On February 27, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) after striking down two Indian fighter jets arrested one pilot, who ejected himself after being hit in the airspace of Pakistan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — something that came as an unexpected setback for India.
Hours after shooting down the IAF jets, Pakistan military released a video statement of the captured Indian pilot.
“I’m wing commander Abhinandan and my service number is 27981,” the arrested Indian pilot said in his video statement.
“I’m a flying pilot of the Indian air force (IAF),” he continued in his statement.
The situation between the two neighbouring countries turned hostile in a tit-for-tat airstrikes following the Pulwama attack that killed over 40 Indian troops in occupied Kashmir on Feb 14.
As a response to Indian aggression, two fighter jets of Indian Air Force were shot down by Pakistan Air Force in broad day light on Feb 27.
Pakistan hit the Indian targets as a demonstration of its defense capability towards the violation of Line of Control by Indian fighter jets on Feb 26, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor said.