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Pakistan: Abhinandan Vartaman’s photo displayed during PSL match, may affect broadcast in India

Pakistan seems to think that the incident, where a lone IAF pilot landed in Pakistan, sipped tea, spent over 24 hours and was respectfully escorted back to India because Pakistan was scared of Indian action, somehow glorifies Pakistan and mocks India. But then, Pakistan is generally not known for smartness.

On February 27, an image of Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was once again used to mock India. This time, the image was shown during a Pakistan Super League game between Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United. During the match, an image of the Indian Air Force hero holding a cup of tea was displayed on the giant screen during the mid-game break.

Notably, the picture was from 2019, when Abhinandan’s jet crashed inside Pakistan’s territory, and he was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army. At that time, a video of him surfaced sipping tea offered by the Pakistan Army. Later, Pakistan has to release Abhinandan under intense pressure from the Indian side. Not to forget, Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader Ayaz Sadiq had said in a statement that Pakistan released Abhinandan out of fear that India might attack if he was not released.

Currently, PSL is being broadcasted in India on Sony Network. If such incidents are repeated, the broadcast may get stopped.

Repeated mocking of India using the incident

This is not the first time the same incident has been used to mock India. Even PSL has used “tea is fantastic” once before to mock India, which sparked uproar on social media. At that time, Lahore Qalandars had tweeted a photograph of Mohammad Hussai sipping tea with the caption “Ye tu “Tea is Fantastic” hogya”.

In December 2022, a Pakistani journalist questioned Ben Stokes, “How was the tea?” in an attempt to humiliate and mock the Indian forces, echoing the same exact question they asked Wing Commander Abhinandan while he was in Pakistani custody.

Abhinandan’s jet crashed during a dogfight

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani military on February 27 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 February 28, Imran Khan announced that his govt had decided to return Abhinandan as a “gesture of peace”, and the Wing Commander had crossed the India-Pakistan border at Wagah on March 1 2019.

During his custody in Pakistan, a video was released by Pakistani authorities thanking the officials which he was asked if he liked the tea. Abhinandan replied, “tea was fantastic”. Since then, Pakistanis have used the phrase to create memes for reasons best known to them. They seem to think that the incident, where a lone IAF pilot landed in Pakistan, sipped tea, spent over 24 hours and was respectfully escorted back to India because Pakistan was scared of Indian action, somehow glorifies Pakistan and mocks India. But then, Pakistan is generally not known for smartness.

They probably used the ironic memes to compensate for the meme fest on the Indian side every February. On February 26, 2019, the Pakistan defence fan acocunt shared a picture of nighttime cityscape and claimed “sleep tight, because PAF is awake”. Just a few hours later, a dozen Indian Air Force fighter jets had veered deep inside Pakistani territory and bombed a terrorist camp to dust in Balakot, while PAF slept. Screenshots of that tweet are very popular in India.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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