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Indian Air Force pilot in Pakistan custody to be repatriated Friday

The unilateral decision by Imran Khan appears to have averted an escalation in the situation between India and Pakistan

Thursday February 28, 2019 11:44 PM, ummid.com News Network

Pakistan to release Indian Pilot

[Addressing the press Thursday, Air Vice-Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor said the Indian Air Force is happy that Wing Commander Abhinandan is being returned to India.]

New Delhi/Islamabad: Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan, will be repatriated Frida, Prime Minister of Pakistan announced in Parliament Thursday. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down IAF MiG 21 fighter jet.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan said his government has decided to release Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman Friday as a "peace gesture".

“As a peace gesture, we have decided to release the Indian pilot in our custody,” he said in the Parliament.

Later in the evening Thursday, Air Vice-Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor said the Indian Air Force is happy that Wing Commander Abhinandan is being returned to India. He said that his release is in consonance with the Geneva Conventions.

In a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, India had officially confirmed that one Indian pilot was “missing in action” after an aerial engagement with Pakistani fighter jets. The statement followed after Pakistan released a video of the "captured pilot".

India had called for the “immediate and safe return” of the Indian pilot, terming the circulation of videos showing his “capture” by Pakistan as a violation of international law and in contravention of the Geneva Conventions.

According to reports, Pakistan's decision to repatriate Wing Commander Abhinandan is the result of a series of visits, phone calls and backroom diplomacy by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The unilateral decision by Imran Khan appears to have averted an escalation in the situation between India and Pakistan at least for the moment.

Earlier, Saudi Foreign Minister announced a visit to Islamabad with an “important message", from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And in Delhi, Saudi Ambassador Saud Al-Sati met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On the other hand, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammad Bin Zayed spoke to PM Modi and PM Imran Khan from Singapore. In a message posted on twitter, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince said he spoke to both of the “importance of dealing wisely with recent developments and giving priority to dialogue and communication.”

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