PAKISTAN FREES CAPTURED INDIAN PILOT
Pakistan has freed an Indian fighter pilot captured after his plane was shot down in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was handed over to Indian officials on Friday at the only legal border crossing with Pakistan.
Minutes earlier, the pilot said on Pakistani TV that he was “very impressed” by the Pakistan army.
On Thursday Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said the pilot’s release was a “peace gesture” to India.
India and Pakistan – both nuclear powers – claim all of Kashmir, but each control only parts of it.
The pilot is being hailed as a hero in India, with fireworks being set off in the capital Delhi.
Praising the pilot, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nation was “proud of your exemplary courage”.
In what appeared to be an edited statement aired on Pakistan TV, the wing commander described how he was shot down and rescued from an “agitated” crowd by Pakistani soldiers.
“The Pakistan army looked after me really well, they are very professional,” the pilot said while in uniform, adding that he saw potential for peace.
Wing Commander Abhinandan also criticised the Indian press, saying they always exaggerate and say a lot of damaging things that mislead people.