There has been tension in the relations between India and Pakistan since the Pulwama terror attack. On Tuesday, the Indian army had demolished the cap of the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant outfit based on Pakistan’s soil. After which Pakistan tried to retaliate but failed in that. After that Pakistan claimed to have captured an Indian pilot and, to India’s fury, published a video of him. India demanded his safe return.
India called the move a “vulgar display” and “unprovoked act of aggression” that “violates all norms of international humanitarian law.” A Foreign Ministry said Pakistan should return him immediately. “It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defense personnel in its custody,” India’s Foreign Ministry said, after summoning a Pakistani diplomat. “India also expects his immediate and safe return.”
Pakistan closed its airspace for a time on Wednesday. A number of Indian airlines announced the suspension of flights to several Indian airports. Flights later resumed. After that India had put pressure on Pakistan on the successful release of the pilot.
Now Pakistan will be handed back to India on Friday as a gesture of peace, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an address to parliament. “In our desire of peace, I announce that tomorrow, and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody,” Khan said on Thursday.
In his address, the Pakistan Prime Minister once again spoke of the need for deescalation of tensions, but said the offer for peace should not be mistaken for weakness. “Nobody wins in a war. I have a fear… there should not be a miscalculation. Countries have been destroyed due to miscalculations,” he said.
Islamabad had earlier hinted that it was willing to release Wing Commander Abhinandan, with foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi saying Pakistan is willing to consider returning the pilot if it leads to “deescalation” of tension with India.
The announcement of the release came just hours after US President Donald Trump said he received “reasonably decent” news from India and Pakistan, hinting that Washington’s behind the scenes mediation efforts had worked.