'Fear of attack by India forced Pakistan to release IAF pilot Abhinandan': Report
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman had landed in Pakistani custody following an aerial dogfight between Indian and Pakistani pilots a day after the Balakot airstrikes in 2019. He was released a few days later.
October 29, 2020 / 08:48 AM IST
The Pakistani government abruptly released Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman fearing an attack by India, the country’s Member of Parliament (MP) claimed on October 28. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman landed in Pakistani custody following an aerial dogfight between Indian and Pakistani pilots a day after the Balakot airstrikes in 2019.
His MiG-21 Bison aircraft had crossed over to the Pakistani side and was shot down. He was subsequently released on March 1, 2019.
Dunya News quoted the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Ayaz Sadiq as claiming in the National Assembly that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had in an important meeting pointed out that, if Pakistan did not release Abhinandan, India would attack Pakistan “that night at 9.00 pm.”
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
The MP also told opposition leaders that the Pakistani foreign minister, in a meeting with the parliamentary leaders that included Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had asked for Abhinandan to be let free.
“I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting which [Prime Minister] Imran Khan had refused to attend and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa came into the room, his legs were shaking and he was perspiring. Foreign Minister said for God’s sake let Abhinandan go, India’s about to attack Pakistan at 9.00 pm”, Sadiq said, recounting the events of the meeting.