Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be released by Pakistan as a `gesture of peace’ through the Wagh-Attari joint check-post, today afternoon, two days after he was captured across the Line of Control, after shooting down a Pakistan Air Force F-16 jet. Already hundred of people reached the Wagah border in Amritsar with drums, garlands and flags to receive him.
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has expressed wish to receive him at the border on his arrival from Pakistan. Amarinder, who is in Amritsar as part of his tour of the border areas to take stock of the ground situation, tweeted a request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard shortly after Pakistan PM Imran Khan announced that the IAF pilot would be released.
“Dear @narendramodi ji, I’m touring the border areas of Punjab & I’m presently in Amritsar. Came to know that @pid_gov has decided to release #AbhinandanVartaman from Wagha. It will be a honour for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are alumnus of the NDA as I am (sic),” he posted on his Twitter handle.
Meanwhile, many hours after the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was announced by the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, his parents boarded a flight for Delhi and upon entering the aircraft were received with a standing ovation from co-passengers. The passengers cheered, clapped and took photos as Air Marshal S Varthaman and Shobha Varthaman made their way through the plane to their seats. The flight reached Delhi around 1:00 am. Now, they are on their way to Amritsar.
The 35-year-old Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was flying the MiG-21 Bison that shot down the PAF F-16 in the aerial engagement with Pakistan on Wednesday morning. Wing Commander Abhinandan will be brought by Pakistani authorities from Rawalpindi to Lahore and handed over first to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) under rules of the Geneva Convention before being brought to the check post to return home.