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Politicians welcome Pakistan's announcement to release captured IAF pilot: Here are some quick reactions

Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Thursday announced that the captured IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman will be released on Friday as a "gesture of peace".

Politicians welcome Pakistan's announcement to release captured IAF pilot: Here are some quick reactions

NEW DELHI: Cutting across the political lines, top leaders on Thursday welcomed Pakistan's announcement to release captured Indian Air Force (IAF) Abhinandan Varthaman on Friday as a major step towards de-escalating tension between the two countries.

In a surprise announcement, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced that the captured IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be released on Friday as a "gesture of peace".

The announcement from Pakistan PM during a joint session of Parliament came barely an hour after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Khan is ready to talk to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to de-escalate Indo-Pak tensions.

As the Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif took the floor of the House, Prime Minister Khan apologised for interrupting and said he wishes to announce that the Indian pilot captured by Pakistan Air Force on Wednesday will be released Friday as a "peace gesture".

The announcement was greeted by thumping of desks by Pakistani lawmakers.

Pakistan detained Wing Commander Varthaman following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control when his MiG 21 fighter jet was downed.

Pakistan's Foreign Office (FO) said that the Indian Air Force pilot was safe and sound.

"The armed forces rescued him from the mob that went after him after his plane crashed in Kashmir," the FO said.

India had on Wednesday summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan and demanded immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot who was detained by Pakistan following an aerial engagement by air forces of the two countries.

It was also made clear to Pakistan that no harm should be caused to the Indian defence personnel, the External Affairs Ministry said in New Delhi, adding that it has conveyed strong objection to the neighbouring country at the "vulgar display" of an injured personnel in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention. 

Here are some quick reactions:- 

Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab CM 

''I'm very happy, I had demanded his release earlier too. This is going to be a step towards goodwill and I hope this will be lasting.''

Kiran Bedi,  Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry

Indian IAF Fighter Pilot #Abhinandan held captive comes back home tom. for India’s firm stand and international glare. 

Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Cabinet Minister 

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.

Mehbooba Mufti, PDP chief

Good news, the whole nation will be relieved. I hope our leadership will also reciprocate this peace gesture. I hope Imran Khan will stand by his word and take steps on Indian dossier on Pulwama attack. Imran Khan has acted like a statesman.