Srinagar, Feb 28 : Asserting that the decision to handover Wing Commander Abhinandan by Pakistan is a great gesture and shouldn’t be seen in isolation, former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said it comes at a time when Pakistan could have chosen to further escalate any already tensed situation.
Ms Mehbooba said she see it as a mark of reconciliation and Indian leadership should reciprocate.
The development comes just hours after US President Donald Trump said that there is ‘reasonably decent’ news on the India-Pakistan conflict and ‘hopefully’ it's coming to an end.
“The decision to hand over Wing Commander Abhinandan is a great gesture & shouldnt be seen in isolation. It also comes at a time when Pak could’ve chosen to further escalate an already tensed situation. I see it as a mark of reconciliation. Our leadership should reciprocate,” Ms Mehbooba, who is the president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.
Ms Mehbooba was reacting to the statement made by Prime Minister Imran Khan that Pakistan will release Indian Pilot Abhinandan on Friday as a gesture of peace.
“I think there is "reasonably decent" news from Pakistan and India. We have been involved and trying to have them stop…. And we have some decent news… hopefully that is going to come to an end as it has been going on for decades and decades… there is a lot of dislike unfortunately so we have been in the middle trying to help both of them out to get some peace. And I think that is going to happen,” US President Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi in Vietnam, on the sidelines of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The tension between India and Pakistan escalated after IAF fighter jets went across to the LoC early on Tuesday morning and destroyed a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale in a press briefing in New Delhi on Tuesday said that a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot was destroyed, and a large number of terrorists were eliminated.
The Centre on Wednesday said that Pakistan attempt to target military installations on Indian side were foiled but in the process one MiG 21 was lost and the pilot is 'missing in action'. “One fighter jet of Pakistan Air Force was also shot down in the aerial engagement by IAF's MiG 21 Bison,” he added.
A video of Wing Commander Abhinandan being questioned by Pakistan Army went viral on social media. Following this, the BJP-led government put out a strong statement and said it expects the "immediate and safe return" of the pilot and lodged a strong protest over the "unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan".