02 Mar 2019
Pakistan's propaganda video delayed Abhinandan Varthaman's release
Written byShalini OjhaIndia
The IAF pilot was supposed to enter the Indian side of Wagah border around 6-6:30 PM but crossed across zero line at 9:20 PM.
While India awaited for its hero, Pakistan made a propaganda video.
Backstory: The brave pilot took down Pakistan's F-16 jet
Abhinandan landed on the wrong side of LoC after a dogfight on Wednesday. Before ejecting from his MiG-21 Bison, Abhinandan shot down PAF's F-16 jet.
Upon landing, Abhinandan was roughed up by locals. He was later taken into Pakistani army's custody.
In a tight spot after pictures and videos showed a bruised Abhinandan, Pakistan announced his Friday release on Thursday.
Despite announcing release, Pakistan delayed the handover
On Friday, hundreds of Indians went to Wagah border to welcome the hero who stood tall in face of adversities.
However, the continuous delay (Pakistan changed the timing of his return twice), concerned his well-wishers. It was reported that Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was closely monitoring the situation.
And now it has been learned the heavily-edited video delayed Abhinandan's return.
In video, Abhinandan "spoke" about "finding a target", "criticized media"
In the video, Abhinandan said he breached Pakistan's airspace to "find a target" and his jet was shot down.
He also praised the "professionalism" of the Pakistani army and said they took good care of him. Abhinandan also "thanked" the army officers for "saving him from the mob".
Not only this but Abhinandan also "criticized" Indian media in the clip.
Here's what Abhinandan "said" in the video
"Pakistani army captains saved me from the people and did not let any harm come to me. The army personnel saved me from the mob. The Pakistani army is very professional and I am impressed by it," Abhinandan said in the video.
After Pakistan's agenda was unearthed, the video was deleted
However, the numerous jump cuts in the video clarified Pakistani army did a shoddy job. The propaganda video, which was shared by the government, was later deleted after Indians slammed it unanimously.
A PTI report said the pilot was asked to record statements before he was handed over, delaying his homecoming.
"Recording of his video message caused a delay in his handing over," PTI reported.
Meanwhile, nation welcomed its hero with cheers and tears
As Abhinandan, dressed in non-military uniform, crossed over to the Indian side, citizens across the country breathed a sigh of relief.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed him by tweeting: Welcome Home Wing Commander Abhinandan! The nation is proud of your exemplary courage. Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians.
On returning, the hero reportedly said, "It's good to be back".
After mandatory medical tests, Abhinandan's debriefing to follow
Abhinandan met with his family members briefly after entering India.
He was taken to Central medical establishment where he spent the night. Reports claimed the pilot seems fine.
His debriefing will happen after he undergoes mandatory medical tests. Questions like how his jet crashed and how he was treated across the border will probably be answered after the debriefing.