Thursday Feb 28, 2019
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced that Pakistan would be releasing the Indian pilot tomorrow as a peace gesture.
Pakistan on Wednesday shot down two Indian aircraft when the crossed the Line on Control and captured Wing Commander Abhinandan.
The prime minister was addressing the joint session of Parliament and in a message, urged India not to escalate the situation. “Don’t take this any further, Pakistan will be forced to retaliate.”
Sources said the captured pilot will be handed over to officials of Indian High Commission at Wagah border crossing on Friday.
Earlier, while speaking to Geo News Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan would be willing to consider returning the Indian pilot if it led to de-escalation.
“If there is de-escalation with the return of this [Indian] pilot, Pakistan is willing to consider this,” Qureshi said.
In his address, Prime Minister Imran Khan said efforts for de-escalation should not be considered weakness.
The premier stressed, "All issues should be resolved through dialogue. Despite us opening the Kartarpur corridor, we received no response from India."
"When the Pulwama attack happened, we were blamed within 30 minutes," he lamented. "I'm not saying that India has a part to play in it but I asked them to share evidence."
Lauding the Pakistani media, the premier said, "Indian media created war hysteria. Our media showed solidarity and acted responsibly."
The premier said, "We had understood that they [India] will do something. PM Imran explained, "The only purpose of our strike was to demonstrate our capability and will. We did not want to inflict any casualty on India as we wanted to act in a responsible manner."
"I had said that if India does something then we will respond," he asserted. PM Imran continued, "India violated the UN Charter." The premier said, "India gave us a dossier today, two days after they attacked us."
"Countries are ruined because of miscalculation. War is not a solution. If India takes any action, we will have to retaliate," he asserted.
Stating that the current situation is because of Kashmir, the premier said, "At one point, Kashmiri leaders had not wanted separation, but because of Indian brutalities, today all they demand is independence."
The premier questioned, "How long will Pakistan be blamed for everything in Kashmir? And asked to take action without any proof?"
Stressing that talks with Kashmir are important, the premier cautioned, "The situation should not get out of hand or Pakistan will have to retaliate."
“I hope the international community will play its part to ensure the situation does not escalate beyond this,” the prime minister added.