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IAF Pilot Abhinandan to be released tomorrow: Imran Khan

Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, taken captive by Pakistan yesterday, will be released tomorrow as a “gesture of peace”, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has declared.

He came up with the announcement while speaking at the country’s parliament.

“Yesterday I tried to call Narendra Modi to say that we don’t want escalation. Our push for de-escalation doesn’t mean we are afraid,” Imran Khan said.

“We have an Indian pilot. As a peace gesture, we will release him tomorrow.”

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured yesterday after an aerial combat between Indian and Pakistani fighter planes.

Before his capture, he shot down two Pakistani pilots and hit an F-16 jet, said the government.

The Indian government summoned the Pakistani envoy and handed over a demarche demanding the “immediate and safe return” of the pilot.

It also strongly objected to Pakistan’s “vulgar display” of the pilot and said Pakistan “would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to him”.