NEW DELHI: At nearly 8.30 pm on Friday, the Pakistan government released a video of Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. However, just minutes after the over 1 min-long heavily edited video was uploaded by the Pakistani government on its Twitter handle, they were forced to take down the video. The reality of the tall claims made by the Imran Khan-led government that releasing the IAF pilot was a 'goodwill gesture' came to the fore by the release of this video which seemed nothing more than an exercise in cheap theatrics to ramp up its propaganda.
There was massive criticism over the video with people on social media claiming that it was gross violation of the Geneva convention. Facing ire, the Pakistan government had to pull down the video from its Twitter handle within minutes.
Abhinandan's release, which was due to happen in the afternoon, was delayed for several hours by the Pakistani authorities before he was finally handed over to India after 9 pm on Friday night. As per a report in news agency PTI, the handing over of the pilot to India at Wagah was delayed on Friday as he was asked to record a statement on camera by Pakistani authorities before he was allowed to cross the border.
In the video message, Abhinandan said that he entered Pakistan's space to 'find a target' but his aircraft was shot down. He also praised Pakistani Army and criticised Indian media in the video. The jump cuts in the video are a clear indication that the video had been made in a way to fit the Pakistani propaganda.
India has maintained that Abhinandan's plane was downed when IAF jets foiled an attempt by Pakistan Air Force to target Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir on February 27, a day after New Delhi had conducted counter-terror operations in Pakistan’s Balakot. He bailed out of the aircraft but drifted to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where he was detained by the Pakistan Army.