New Delhi, Mar 2: "At times, reality is stranger than fiction," pens a London-based lawyer and commentator Khalid Umar in a rather pensive and ironic mood claiming that F-16 jet fighter deployed by Pakistan during February 27 assault against India in northern sector was flown by Wg Cdr Shahzaz Ud Din.
According to his Facebook post, Khalid Umar says Pakistani pilot Shahzaz belonged to No 19 Squadron flying F-16s of Pakistan Air Force.
The Facebook post has gone viral on web and social media and its content has already been reported in a section of media.
"The sad part is that the Pakistani pilot who ejected in the Pakistani occupied part of J&K was hurt but alive when landed but was lynched (beaten mercilessly nearly to death) by the mob who took him as a fallen Indian. When it was identified as ‘our own man’ and taken to hospital (in Pakistan), he could not survive," writes Mr Umar.
It may be mentioned that on February 27, Pakistani military spokesperson Major-General Asif Ghafoor has asserted that two Indian jets were shot down and two Indian pilots were captured. He had tweeted that while one of these pilots was in Pakistan armed forces' custody -- in obvious reference to Indian Wg Commander Abhinandan, the other had been admitted to the hospital.
Even Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at one point spoke in 'plurals' suggesting there could be two Indian pilots with Pakistan Army. However, at later stage Pakistan said - they had only one.
Prior to this, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar in Delhi confirmed about "one pilot is missing in action" about Wg Cdr Abhinandan only. India also made it clear to Pakistan when the deputy envoy of Pakistan was summoned that the pilot should be released and it also deplored the 'vulgar display' of the video and photograph showing an injured Abhinandan.
In his posting Khalid Umar further says - Wg Cdr Shahzaz - also shared another fact of life with Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan. Shahzaz too was son of a former PAF Air Marshall.
"So two sons of Air Marshals fought it out mid-air up in the skies..... Wg Cdr Abhinandan (IND) in MIG & now Late, Wg Cdr Shahzaz Ud Din(PAK) in F-16. Both fell from the skies, one could not survive," writes Khalid Umar. Khalid Umar's Facebook profile is also interesting as it says - "Alice in wonderland.. wondering if the rabbit hole is real or a dream within a dream".
Pakistan has been constantly in denial mood about the loss of their F-16 jet fighter. In fact, on Friday it is being alleged by certain quarters that Pakistani authorities in Lahore and Islamabad 'delayed' release of Wg Cdr Abhinandan - as he was 'made to undergo' a video recording wherein he is made to say among other things that the Pakistani Army is "very professional and I am impressed by it".
In the purported video - he further says, according to sources, “I was in search of the target when your Pakistan Air Force shot me down".
The statement - virtually made to say under duress one way or the other - is seen as an attempt by Pakistani forces and authorities to establish their claims that F-16 fighter jet was not shot down by MiG 21 Bison. UNI