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Abhinandan released for peace, says Pakistan

Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman as he is released by Pakistan authorities on the Pakistani side of the Wagah border on March 1, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Pakistan claimed on October 29 that there was “no pressure” on it to release Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, a day after a top Opposition leader said that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi pleaded at a high-level meeting to release him fearing an Indian attack on the country.

Reacting to former National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq’s remarks, Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said on October 29 that “there was no pressure on Pakistan at all regarding the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan”.

Also read | Pakistan Minister admits Islamabad’s role in Pulwama terror attack

“The Government of Pakistan took the decision as a gesture of peace, which was appreciated by the international community,” he told reporters during his weekly media briefing in Islamabad.

In the early hours of February 26, 2019, the IAF jets bombed the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camps in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan.

Before his jet was hit, Wing Commander Varthaman downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. He was released on the night of March 1.

Also read | My warning forced Pakistan to free Wing Commander Abhinandan: Narendra Modi

Consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

When asked about granting consular access to Indian prisoner on death row Kulbhushan Jadhav, the spokesman said that the offer of a third consular access is still on the table.

“We have also repeatedly asked India to cooperate with Pakistani Court in the matter, as effective review and reconsideration envisaged in the ICJ judgment can only be provided by Pakistani Court, he said.

Pakistan has rejected India’s demand that an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel should be appointed for Mr. Jadhav to ensure a free and fair trial in the case.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 3:49:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/wing-commander-abhinandan-varthaman-iaf-pilot-was-released-as-a-gesture-of-peace-says-pakistan/article32976316.ece

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