Imran Khan said Pakistan would release IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman as a gesture of peace.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement that captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman would be released tomorrow was greeted jubilantly across the country, with everybody from netizens to political parties rejoicing over the impending homecoming of a man who had acquired a hero’s status in the last two days.
Wing Commander Varthaman was taken into custody by the Pakistan administration on Thursday after his jet plummeted on the other side of the border while on hot pursuit of rival F-16 fighters that were targeting Indian military facilities in retaliation to an IAF strike on a Pakistani terror camp the previous day. Upon hearing news of the pilot’s imminent return, the pilot’s relieved father thanked the people for their support and good wishes. “I thank God for his blessings, Abhi is alive, not injured, sound in mind, just look at the way he talked so bravely… a true soldier… we are so proud of him,” news agency PTI quoted S Varthaman as saying.
Other reactions on social media were equally joyous. “Hopefully Abhinandan will back home soon,” the Aam Aadmi Party tweeted with the hashtag #WelcomeBackAbhinandan.
Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said this was an opportunity for the two countries to mend fences. “The decision to hand over Wing Commander Abhinandan is a great gesture, and shouldn’t be seen in isolation. It comes at a…