Pakistan releases Indian pilot as “peace gesture”

Feb 28, 2019, 6:27 AM EST
Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday.

Addressing a joint session of parliament, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the Indian IAF officer, captured by his troops on Wednesday, will be released tomorrow as a “peace gesture.”

The announcement is being seen as an attempt by Islamabad to de-escalate growing tensions with India, after the two countries have breached each other’s airspace at least once over the last three days. Khan added that the move should not be construed as a weakness but a genuine attempt to resolve the Kashmir conflict with dialogue.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had hinted that the Indian pilot could be released and that Khan is ready to talk to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, writes Economic Times.

Analysts view the unprecedented development as Pakistan’s tactic to win the goodwill of the international community at a time when it faces trough scrutiny over its inaction against terror outfits running jihadist camps right under its nose. The release marks a major diplomatic victory for India, which has sought to isolate Islamabad over its support for Islamist terrorists.