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Indian pilot Abhinandan will be sent back home: Pak PM Imran Khan confirms release

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot- Wing Commander- Abhinandan Varthan, who was taken into custody by Pakistan Army on Wednesday, will be sent back to India on Friday as a ‘gesture of Peace’.

Imran Khan’s statement came hours after US President Donald Trump called for an immediate de-escalation in Hanoi after his historic meeting with North Korea President Kim Jong-un.

Earlier, Trump had revealed that ‘attractive news’ will pop up from the subcontinent soon.

On Wednesday, aerial combat up above the sky between Pakistan Air Force and IAF triggered global concern, with world leaders from mighty countries urging both countries to refrain themselves from further escalation for the well being of the region.

In the aftermath of this development, Pakistan PM Imran Khan informed the Pakistan National Assembly that he had unsuccessful attempt to reach out to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Yesterday, I tried to call (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi to say that we don’t want escalation. But our desire for de-escalation should not be taken as our weakness,” Imran Khan said.

“We have an Indian pilot. As a peace gesture, we will release him tomorrow,” said the Pakistan Prime Minister as Parliamentarians stamped their feet in approval.

Imran’s decision to release Abhinandan didn’t come easily at all. It was the Indian Government’s effort to build up pressure on Pakistan through the diplomatic channel. While Trump indicated a role, Saudi Arabia Prince Mohamed bin Zayed made phone calls to Imran Khan and PM Modi, stressing – according to a tweet – “the importance of dealing wisely and giving priority to dialogue and communication”.

The Saudi Finance Minister had to fly to Pakistan capital Islamabad and the Saudi’s India envoy met Indian PM Modi in New Delhi.

On Thursday, India had apparently rejected Imran Khan’s attempts to resume dialogue, saying there would be ‘no deal’ on the Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthanman’s release.

In the wake of IAF’s airstrike in Pakistan’s Balakot- Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest suicide bombing training camp, Pakistan shot back a day after. During the engagement, India shot down PAF’s F-16 while chasing them inside LoC of Pakistan, but Pakistan Air Force in response brought down the MiG-21 and captured Abhinandan Varthaman.

With tension heightening between India and Pakistan, the Indian government urged its western neighbour for an “immediate and safe return” of the pilot and said it “would be well-advised to ensure that no harm comes to him”.