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Live Updates: Wing Commander Abhinandan to return home today

Mar 10, 2019, 11:00 IST | mid-day online desk Check for updates

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced that IAF's captured pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be released on Friday as a gesture of peace and the "first step" to open negotiations with India

  • Mar 01, 2019, 12:22 IST

    Tamil Nadu: A special thanksgiving prayer was organised today by state Home Guards at Kalikambal Temple in Chennai ahead of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's release by Pakistan

  • Mar 01, 2019, 12:19 IST

    Pakistan Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said, "During (former Prime Minister) Vajpayee's time this was not the situation. (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has a different thinking. People say Modi planned this attack keeping in view the Lok Sabha elections. What if India attacks us again after we hand over to them the IAF pilot. I want to tell you, Modi is sitting there. What if he attacks tomorrow. Every Muslim residing in India is looking towards Pakistan."

  • Mar 01, 2019, 12:18 IST

    Pakistan Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has opposed the release of Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, expressing apprehension that India could launch an offensive after he is sent back. In a speech in Pakistan Parliament, Ahmed, who is the chief of Awami Muslim League, admitted that terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed has a camp in Jabba in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan

  • Mar 01, 2019, 12:16 IST

    The United Nations called the announcement of a release of Indian Pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan by Pakistan a "welcome step". The report of the release of the Indian pilot by the Pakistani authorities would be very much a welcome step, Dawn quoted UN chief Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying. "We would encourage both parties to do whatever they can to de-escalate the situation and this is the message that has been passed on by the United Nations and, I think, by the international community as a whole," the spokesperson added

  • Mar 01, 2019, 12:12 IST

    Abhinandan's family has served the Indian Air Force for generations, since the Second World War. Air Marshal S Varthaman, a recipient of several honours, including a Param Vishisht Seva Medal, said in a message, "Abhi is alive, not injured, sound in mind, just look at the way he talked so bravely... a true soldier... we are so proud of him."

  • Mar 01, 2019, 12:11 IST

    In photos and videos shared by passengers on social media platforms, the couple, who came to Delhi on their way to Amritsar to bring their son home, can be seen acknowledging the clapping, cheers and thank yous with nods of their heads. The plane landed at the Delhi airport for about an hour after midnight. The couple left for Amritsar soon after landing in Delhi. They are all set to receive their son most likely at the Wagah border

  • Mar 01, 2019, 11:52 IST

    It may have been after midnight when the Chennai-Delhi flight came to a stop at the tarmac but there was no scramble to get bags from the overhead bin or rush towards the exit because all eyes were focused on one couple -- the parents of IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. Air Marshal (retd) S Varthaman and Dr Shobha Varthaman were given a standing ovation as passengers made way for them in the early hours of Friday, ensuring that the couple gets off first

  • Mar 01, 2019, 10:47 IST

    Jitender, a resident of Amritsar, who arrived here with his friends, said, "We have come here to welcome our country's hero back home. We will give him a grand welcome. He showed a lot of bravery in the air combat and even after being captured by the Pakistanis." Manjit Singh, who was carrying a dhol, said, "Many celebrities and other important people come to Attari border on different occasions. But today, a real hero is coming back. We will give him a big and warm welcome with dhol and bhangra."

  • Mar 01, 2019, 10:44 IST

    Scores of people assembled at the Attari Joint Check Post (JCP) here on Friday to receive Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman who is likely to be released by Pakistani authorities later in the day. People started arriving in Attari, around 30 km from Sikh holy city of Amritsar, since 6 a.m. Their numbers swelled by 9 a.m. Pic/PTI

  • Mar 01, 2019, 09:27 IST

    Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman who is to be released by Pakistani authorities today will be brought back home through the Wagah-Attari joint check-post. Official sources said that the pilot is likely to be brought by Pakistani authorities from Rawalpindi to Lahore and handed over first to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) under rules of the Geneva Convention before being brought to the JCP between 12 noon and 2 p.m. to return home. Varthaman will be debriefed by defence and security officials after his return. Illustration/Uday Mohite 

  • Mar 01, 2019, 09:22 IST

    Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed his desire to receive Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Varthaman Abhinandan after he is freed on Friday. The 35-year-old Wing Commander was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday after his MiG fell in Pakistani territory during an aerial dogfight. "Dear @narendramodi ji, I'm touring the border areas of Punjab & I'm presently in Amritsar. Came to know that @pid_gov has decided to release #AbhinandanVartaman from Wagha. It will be an honour for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are alumnus of the NDA as I am," Singh said in a tweet

  • Mar 01, 2019, 09:20 IST

    Sharing details of an air raid by PAF on the LoC, Air Vice Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor said that a large pack of PAF's F-16, JF-17 Thunders and Mirages had come to attack Indian military installations which was repulsed by IAF's Mirages, Mig-21 Bisons and Su-30s. In the engagement, an F-16 was shot down and IAF lost an Mig-21. Pilot Abhinandan's parachute drifted towards Pakistan-held Kashmir. Calling Pakistan's bluff that F-16s were not used in the raid, IAF produced a piece of an Amraam missile which landed in an Indian military compound. The missile is exclusive to F-16. The IAF also identified F-16s through electronic signature

  • Mar 01, 2019, 09:17 IST

    The Indian Air Force said it is very happy that captured pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is returning home but dismissed suggestions it was a goodwill gesture, insisting it was in line with the Geneva Conventions. "We are very happy Abhinandan will be freed tomorrow and look forward to his return," Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, assistant chief of Air Staff, told a news conference. Watch video here...

  • Mar 01, 2019, 09:15 IST

    Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's announcement regarding the release of captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Varthaman Abhinandan and argued strongly for a dialogue between both the countries to ensure lasting peace in the region. "Every noble act makes a way for itself... your goodwill gesture is 'a cup of joy' for a billion people, a nation rejoices...I am overjoyed for his parents and loved ones," Sidhu tweeted

  • Mar 01, 2019, 09:11 IST

    Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder S.Ramadoss on Thursday welcomed Pakistan's decision to release Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Varthaman Abhinandan. In a tweet Ramadoss said: "The news about Abhinandan being freed from Pakistan's custody is joyous. India, and more so Chennai, is ready to welcome back the brave son."

  • Mar 01, 2019, 08:58 IST

    Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of the IAF was captured by Pakistanis on Wednesday after an aerial engagement between the air forces near the Line of Control (LoC). He parachuted and fell into Pakistani territory. He has been in Pakistan since then

  • Mar 01, 2019, 08:55 IST

    The surprise announcement during a joint session of Parliament came barely an hour after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Prime Minister Khan was ready to talk to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As the Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif took the floor of the House, Khan apologised for interrupting him and said he wishes to announce that the Indian pilot captured by the Pakistan Air Force on Wednesday will be released on Friday as a peace gesture

  • Mar 01, 2019, 08:32 IST

    The captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot will be freed on Friday 'as a peace gesture', Pakistan Prime Minister announced on Thursday, hours after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Imran Khan was ready to talk to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to de-escalate tensions between the two neighbours

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