Guwahati, March 1, 2019
Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan on February 27th, 2019, will be released on March 1st, 2019 as a “gesture of peace”, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan declared on February 28th, 2019.
Commissioned into the IAF in 2004, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is by now, a national hero. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, in a tweet, dropped a hint that the handover could take place at the Wagah border.
Dear @narendramodi ji , I’m touring the border areas of Punjab & I’m presently in Amritsar. Came to know that @pid_gov has decided to release #AbhinandanVartaman from Wagha. It will be a honour for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are alumnus of the NDA as I am.
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) February 28, 2019
As reported by news agency IANS, the pilot is likely to 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 between 12 noon and 2 pm 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.
Emotions are running high in India after Khan said that Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan will be sent back home. Soon after the news of Abhinandan’s release broke, Twitter users took to the micro-blogging platform to say Welcome Back Abhinandan.
It may be mentioned that India and Pakistan had been on edge after the IAF conducted airstrikes on February 26th, 2019 on Jaish-e-Mohammed training campus in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Netizens from India and Pakistan took to Twitter and social media platforms to trend #SayNoToWar, #BringBackAbhinandan and #BringHimHome ever since the pilot was captured by Pakistan.
The parents of the Wing Commander are on their way to Amritsar. They arrived in Delhi at 1:30 am from Chennai, and then took a flight to Amritsar. As per reports, a delegation of IAF team will receive Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at the Wagah border.
Of courage & dignity
Pakistan Army released two videos of the captured IAF pilot – one showing him blindfolded and bloodied and another while having tea. In both videos, he is seen answering questions in a composed and stoic manner.
Standing with a cup of tea in his hand and appearing to be absolutely calm, the pilot is seen responding to questions in the video. To most queries, he says he is sorry as he is not supposed to divulge any details. “I hope you like the tea,” someone is heard asking. “It is fantastic,” he answers.