Guwahati, March 1, 2019
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will cross the Wagah border between 2 pm and 4 pm on March 1st, 2019. A senior Indian Air force team from Delhi will be the ones to receive him.
Abhinandan’s parents, Air Marshal (retd) S Varthaman and Dr Shobha Varthaman, were given a standing ovation as passengers made way for them in the early hours of March 1st, 2019, ensuring that the couple gets off first.
On the other hand, celebrations began at the Wagah Border to welcome the pilot. People have started gathering at the Attari-Wagah border to celebrate the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan.
The pilot will be brought by Pakistani authorities from Rawalpindi to Lahore and handed over first to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) under rules of the Geneva Convention before being brought to the JCP to return home. Pakistan captured him after his MiG-21 Bison fighter jet was shot down in action with Pakistan Air Force jets near the LoC.
It may be mentioned that an activist has filed a writ petition in a Pakistan court to challenge his release.
As per the standard of procedure, Abhinandan will be brought to the Wagah border by the Army. He will be handed over to civilian authorities and representative of Indian High Commission at the Wagah border. Then the civilian authorities will be handing him over to the Indian Border Security forces.
Sushma at OIC
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on March 1st, 2019 reached Abu Dhabi to attend a conclave of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). “Terrorism in each case is driven by distortion of religion. Fight against terror is not a confrontation against any religion. Just as Islam means peace, none of the 99 names of Allah means violence. Similarly, every religion stands for peace,” she said.
Swaraj added, “I come from the land of Mahatma Gandhi where every prayer ends with call for ‘shanti’ that is peace for all. India has always embraced and found it easy to embrace pluralism since it is embedded in the oldest Sanskrit religious text “The Rig Veda” and I quote “Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadhanti“, which means “God is One but learned men describe him in many ways.”