A Pakistan MP speaking in Parliament on Wednesday claimed that fearing an attack by India, the Imran Khan government had abruptly released Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who landed in Pakistani custody last February after a dogfight between Indian and Pakistani pilots.
In a speech in the National Assembly, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Ayaz Sadiq said that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had in an important meeting pointed out that if Pakistan did not release Abhinandan Varthaman, India would attack Pakistan “that night by 9pm.”
The PML-N leader told opposition leaders that Qureshi in a meeting with the parliamentary leaders, including PPP and PML-N and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had asked for Abhinandan to be let free.
“I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting which Imran Khan had refused to attend and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa came into the room, his legs were shaking and he was perspiring. Foreign Minister said for God’s sake let Abhinandan go, India’s about to attack Pakistan at 9 PM”, Sadiq recounted the events of the important meeting.
Dunya News further quoted Sadiq as saying that the opposition has supported the government in all issues including Abhinandan but will not be able to further support it.
Wing Commander Varthaman shot into limelight after he shot down a Pakistani aircraft F-16, which had transgressed into the Indian airspace during a dog fight between Indian and Pakistani air force in February 2019 and in the process, his plane crossed over to Pakistani side and was shot down.
Abhinandan was returned to India from the Attari-Wagah border on March 1.