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Pilot was released as a goodwill gesture: FO

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri on Thursday said that Pakistan had released Indian pilot Abhinandan as goodwill and peace gesture. Addressing a weekly press briefing in Islamabad, Hafeez Chaudhri clarified that the Indian pilot had not been freed under any pressure. He maintained that Pakistan wants peace and stability in the region and the release of Indian pilot manifests this resolve of Islamabad.
However, Pakistan is fully prepared and capable to take firm action against any misadventure from any country, he added.
“Pakistan’s response of downing Indian planes was a manifestation of the level of preparedness of its armed forces against any outside threat against the country.”
Responding to a question, the spokesperson said that new domicile and land acquisition laws in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir are against the international law and the spirit of UN resolutions over the matter. He said India cannot alter the status quo of occupied Kashmir.
“Kashmir Black Day” was observed across the globe to condemned India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir, he said, adding that 27th of October represents a dark chapter in the human history when, 73 years ago, Indian forces had landed in Srinagar to forcibly occupy the territory.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi lamented irresponsible remarks of PML-N leader and former National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and said that the matter needs no clarification after DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar explained it in detail.
Speaking over Pakistan’s response to the Indian attack after the Pulwama incident, the foreign minister claimed that even Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief was removed from his post after the humiliation of his forces at the hands of Pakistan in February 2019, which led to the capture of their pilot, Abhinandan.
“He [IAF chief] now also has the courage to speak again due to such irresponsible remarks,” he said.
The foreign minister said that Pakistan had acted responsibly during and in the aftermath of the February 2019 incidents and the entire world applauded their responsible behavior.
“We gave a lesson to India,” he said over the episode involving shooting down of the IAF plane and capture of Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan and further added that later they took measures to bring down tensions between the two sides, which was considered a wise step.
He said that it was unfortunate that voices from within the country have supported the anti-Pakistan narrative. “Ayaz Sadiq’s clarification shows that he had unintentionally played in the hands of the enemy,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi said adding that the PML-N leader should have thought before giving such statements as the enemy is ever ready to capitalize on it to undermine the country. He said that these remarks have caused damage to the country rather than any service and cautioned that they should refrain from repeating such mistakes in the future.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Ayaz Sadiq said that his statement regarding Abhinandan was taken out of context by the Indian media.
In his clarification statement, he said that Indian media tried to distort his remarks. Terming the striking down of Abhinandan’s fighter jet, a success for Pakistan, he said the Indian pilot was sent to attack Pakistan not to distribute sweets.
He said that decision to release Abhinandan was not right. Sadiq further said that the premier conveyed a message to release Abhinandan through Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to the opposition parties. The SAPM demanded a medical checkup of Ayaz Sadiq and added that opposition is pushing the Indian narrative.
On February 27, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) after striking down two Indian fighter jets had arrested a pilot, named Abhinandan Varthaman, who ejected himself after being hit in the airspace of Pakistan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

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