In February 2019, hours after Pakistan government decided to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was captured by Pakistan after the Balakot air strikes, the so-called liberals in India had bent themselves backward praising Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for the ‘goodwill gesture’. Here are the usual suspects who had declared Imran Khan ‘won’ despite the fact that it was Indian Armed Forces that destroyed terror camps in Pakistan.
We in India may not like this, but in terms of pure optics, @ImranKhanPTI at the moment is winning the day by taking the moral high ground .. we have a strong case on terror but too many of our leaders busy calculating votes at the moment..— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) February 28, 2019
Rajdeep, who is fondly called Michelangelo for his expertise in art of hypocrisy, had declared that Khan was winning the day by taking the ‘moral high ground’.
Great & mature peace gesture by Imran Khan to unconditionally release captured pilot. Hope that this will cool down the tension & both countries will start serious negotiations. Both countries simply cannot afford a war https://t.co/x7hCljb67F— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) February 28, 2019
Prashant Bhushan, who was recently convicted of contempt of court, too praised Imran Khan. In fact, he quote tweeted one ‘professor’ who regularly likes to tweet fake news, had even declared that PM Modi is the ‘bigger loser’ between the two.
Similar such tweets by made by others.
I think we should welcome this gesture from @ImranKhanPTI on the release of #Abhinandan. The door for deescalation has been opened. And this is really not the time for dumb and needless gloating by tv anchors— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) February 28, 2019
Absolutely. By speaking against war and about the need for talks, by saying they won’t escalate unless we do and by releasing Abhinandan @imrankhanpti has scored in this round. Sadly our strong case on terror may be suffering because of the focus on votes. https://t.co/NyaWIzlzVI— Sumanth Raman (@sumanthraman) February 28, 2019
Welcome gesture from @ImranKhanPTI on the unconditional release of our brave heart #Abhinandan.Both the nation has to go a long way to built d mutual Trust. Its a gd beginning.Hope the Govt of the day will think beyond the vote bank politics&respect Abhi.— Jothimani (@jothims) February 28, 2019
Some ‘journalists’ also declared that Imran Khan had ‘won’ the ‘perception war’.
Abusive troll masquerading as a journalist Swati Chaturvedi also added her 2 cents by claiming that the fact that Wing Commander Varthaman was being released is India’s failure to not have a strong case against Pakistan’s terror.
By sending Wing Commander Abhinandan back @ImranKhanPTI has become the biggest statesman in the subcontinent. This is probably his finest innings under pressure. Yet. #WelcomeBackAbhinandan #ThankYouImrankhan #ThankYouTwitterVerse— Ram Subramanian (@VORdotcom) March 1, 2019
I think Imran Khan just hit that six to win the match. https://t.co/ZA16ptmk8c— saliltripathi (@saliltripathi) February 28, 2019
However, amongst all these ‘liberals’ one person who might have got it right is perhaps Editor of pro-AAP blog Rifat Jawaid. In a bid to mock PM Modi, Jawaid had tweeted that how instead of hailing Imran Khan for his so-called peace gesture, some media channels will say how Khan was frightened of PM Modi and hence released Wing Commander Abhinandan.
Dark comedy channels will say tonight: “Top sources tell us (add your fav entertainment channels’ name here) that Modi frightened Imran Khan with his divya shakti, forcing Pak PM to release our hero”— Rifat Jawaid (@RifatJawaid) February 28, 2019
This is true since Pakistani leadership was scared out of its wits that India will attack Pakistan if Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is not released.
Contrary to the ‘goodwill’ perception ‘liberals’ tried to peddle, it was actually the fear of another Balakot type air strikes that had played a major role in release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
During a debate in Pakistan’s assembly, Ayaz Sadiq, member of Pakistan National Assembly and a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) revealed that Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said that India would attack Pakistan if they don’t return Abhinandan.
Sadiq reveals that Imran Khan had refused to attend a meeting where Shah Mahmood Qureshi was present. Chief of Army Staff had also joined in the meeting. “His legs were shivering, sweat beads formed on his heads and Shah Mahmood told us that for gods sake, send him (Abhinandan) back because at 9 PM India is going to attack Pakistan. India was never going to attack but government got on its knees and returned Abhinandan,” he revealed.
Pulwama terror attack and Balakot terror strike
On February 14, 2019, Pakistan-sponsored terrorist, led a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. As many as 40 jawans were martyred in the attack. A week later on 26 February 2019, Indian Armed Forces destroyed terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan.
A day later, Pakistan retaliated. Abhinandan was part of an IAF sortie which was scrambled to intercept an intrusion by Pakistan fighter planes in Jammu and Kashmir a day after the Balakot strikes. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistani military on 27th February 2019, when the MiG-21 he was flying was shot down by a Pakistani missile, seconds after he had shot down a Pakistani Air Force’s F-16 aircraft.
On 28 February, 2019, Imran Khan had announced that his govt has decided to return Abhinandan as a “gesture of peace”, and the Wing Commander had crossed the India-Pakistan border at Wagah on 1 March 2019.