Pakistan to handover IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman at Wagah Border tomorrow: Media reports
As per the media reports, Pakistan to handover the IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman through Wagah Border on Friday afternoon, as the air space is still closed in Pakistan.
While speaking in Parliament, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that they would release captive Indian Air Force pilot on Friday as a 'big peace gesture'.
Prime Minister Imran Khan's surprise announcement to a joint session of Parliament, that Varthaman will be released Friday, was greeted by loud thumping of desks by the lawmakers. Earlier, his foreign minister said Khan was also willing to talk to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the phone to talk peace.
However, India appears in no mood to have talks with Pakistan, saying it first wants action from Islamabad on combatting terrorism. New Delhi had also made it clear that Varthaman cannot be a bargaining chip while demanding his unconditional and immediate repatriation.
"In our desire for peace, I announce that tomorrow (Friday), and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody," Khan said.
The Indian Air Force(IAF) said it is very happy that Varthaman is returning home but dismissed suggestions it was a goodwill gesture, insisting it was in line with all Geneva Conventions.
"We are very happy Abhinandan will be freed tomorrow and look forward to his return," Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, assistant chief of Air Staff, told a news conference.
Asked if the IAF sees the gesture as a goodwill move, Kapoor said, "We see it as a gesture in consonance with all Geneva Conventions."
The pilot bailed out and landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK) after his MiG 21 was brought down during a fierce aerial engagement on Wednesday with Pakistan Air Force(PAF) fighters on the Line of Control(LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after India bombed terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed's(JeM) biggest training camp in Pakistan. Reports said that the wing commander shot down a Pakistan F-16 before being hit