Pakistan’s MP Ayaz Sadiq who made a revelation that the country decided to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from the captivity after Balakot strike fearing India’s attack has said he stands by his statement. Last week, while addressing Pakistan’s national assembly, Sadiq had revealed how Pakistan’s leadership was shivering and terrified at the prospect that India might attack if Wing Commander Abhinandan was not released.
Sadiq’s statement led to controversy especially since it was widely publicised in Indian ‘liberal’ media as well that release of Abhinandan was a great ‘peace gesture’ by Imran Khan government. Whereas in reality, Wing Commander Abhinandan was released out of fear of retaliation by Indian forces to secure his release.
He said, ‘I was present in the meeting, I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was present in the meeting which the prime minister had refused to attend. Chief of Army Staff was present. His legs were shivering, head was sweating, and the foreign minister Shah Mahmood Sahab told us, for the sake of God, let him go now, else India will attack Pakistan by 9 o’ clock.
Despite the backlash, Sadiq has now stated that he stands by his statement and that he knows “many secrets”, which the Pakistan government will see in future. However, he added that despite knowing ‘many secrets’, he has never made irresponsible statements.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman
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. 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. On 28th February, Imran Khan announced that Pakistan will release Abhinandan as ‘goodwill gesture’. On 1st March 2019, Wing Commander Abhinandan walked back to India at Wagah border.