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Social media on both sides of the border praised the Pakistan armed forces for treating the pilot of an Indian jet – shot down by Pakistan Air Force – with dignity and respect. Indian journalist Barkha Dutt weighed in on how Abhinandan was being treated “professionally”. Indian anchor Manak Gupta noted how Pakistani military intervened and saved the pilot from a mob.
Pakistan is all set to hand over Abhinandan Varthaman, the captured Indian pilot, to authorities at the Wagah Border in Lahore on Friday as ‘peace gesture’. The premier said that Pakistan’s desire for de-escalation should not be confused as weakness. All arrangements for the pilot’s release have been finalized. He will be accompanied by the Indian air attache to Pakistan.
Former Supreme Court judge of India Markandey Katju expressed his admiration of Prime Minister Imran Khan after listening to his “wise and restrained speech” about de-escalating Pak-India tensions. Katju spoke out via Twitter saying that he was previously not a fan of the cricketer-turned-politician, however, this was no longer the case now.
The interior ministry has removed the names of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL). However, names of 1,082 people including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar and former chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme Farzana Raja are still on the ECL.
Pakistan will release captured Indian pilot Friday as a peace gesture, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced. The premier said Islamabad realized that due to the upcoming elections in India, maintaining good ties with Pakistan was not on Modi-led government’s priority. Troops of the Pakistan Army moved quickly to save Abhinandan from an angry mob and even forcefully pushing away locals who wanted to assault him.
A joint session of Parliament discussed rising tension with India and Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked the opposition for standing by the government "at a time when Pakistan is facing an external threat". PM Khan said he tried to call Indian PM Narendra Modi on the phone yesterday because "escalation is neither in our interest nor in India's".
The military's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), asserted that Pakistan Army troops, Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy are at high alert along the Line of Control (LoC) with all required safeguards along Eastern Border in place to thwart any Indian aggression. are also fully alert, the ISPR conveyed in its statement.
Russia is ready to mediate between India and Pakistan to try to calm tensions between the two nuclear powers. Russian President Vladimir Putin told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a phone call that he hopes for a quick settlement of the crisis between India and Pakistan. Russia has particularly close relations with India which buys large quantities of Russian military equipment.
The government increased the prices of petroleum products by up to Rs4.75 per litre for the month of March to pass on the impact of higher international prices to consumers. The price of petrol was increased by 2.76 per cent and that of high speed diesel (HSD) by 4.45pc. The price of kerosene oil increased by 4.85pc and that of light diesel (LDO) by 3.33pc.
UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Thursday spoke to the prime ministers of both countries and emphasised that both countries de-escalate and open channels of communication, including regular bilateral dialogue so that outstanding issues could be addressed. He expressed the hope that the leaders of both countries would engage in dialogue to address their problems.