Pakistan foreign minister says ready to return IAF pilot if it leads to de-escalation

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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that they are willing to consider returning the detained IAF pilot if it leads to “de-escalation” of tension with India.

“Pakistan is willing to consider returning the Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation,” Qureshi said. 

In New Delhi, government sources said India has not asked for consular access to the IAF pilot and is insisting on his unconditional and immediate return.

On Wednesday, India had summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan and demanded the immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot and also lodge a strong protest at the unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan against India including the violation of the Indian air space by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and targeting of Indian military posts.

India has conveyed a strong objection to Pakistan’s vulgar display of injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention. It was also made clear to Pakistan that no harm should be caused to the Indian defence personnel.

Pakistan on Wednesday detained Pilot Abhinandan following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control (LoC).