The Balakot Airstrikes that India conducted in the aftermath of the dastardly Pulwama terror attack is still living in the minds of ordinary Pakistanis and politicians rent-free. The covert operation by India had exposed Pakistan’s fragile military setup and imposed India’s superiority on the terrorist state. However, Pakistan continued to claim that India had failed in its mission and uprooted only a few trees in their pursuit. But the recent statements by a Pakistani MP paints a different picture of horror, fear and panic that the entire Pakistani Army and bureaucracy went through when they had Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Vartrhaman as their captive.
In a speech in the National Assembly, Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Ayaz Sadiq said that the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in an important meeting had said that if Pakistan did not release Wing Commander Varthaman, India would attack Pakistan “that night by 9 pm.”
“I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting in which (Prime Minister) Imran Khan had refused to attend and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa came into the room, his legs were shaking and he was perspiring. Foreign Minister said for god’s sake let Abhinandan go, India’s about to attack Pakistan at 9 pm,” said Ayaz Sadiq recounting the events of the meeting.
On Abhinandan meltdown in Pak Parliament, local politics aside, only one thing to say: More proof of how Balakot airstrikes will always be under Pak’s skin. Whatever you think of this guy’s claims, fact is Pak had zero choice in returning Abhinandan. Chai jokes to console selves. pic.twitter.com/ZSVezeaDmS
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) October 28, 2020
When a panic-stricken Pakistan decided to release Wing Commander Varthaman in just 48 hours after capturing him, PM Imran Khan had presented the move as one ‘aimed at bringing peace amid India’s aggressive moves’.
The liberals of the country had immediately latched onto Khan’s statement and had projected him as the ultimate messiah of the subcontinent that even deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.
Currently, under the Freedom of Speech ban by India Today network’s supremo Aroon Purie, Rajdeep Sardesai had said that Pakistan and Imran Khan had won the day by taking the moral high ground.
We in India may not like this, but in terms of pure optics, @ImranKhanPTI at the moment is winning the day by taking the moral high ground .. we have a strong case on terror but too many of our leaders busy calculating votes at the moment..
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) February 28, 2019
NDTV alumnus Barkha Dutt had also hailed Imran Khan and called him the one that had opened the door of de-escalation.
I think we should welcome this gesture from @ImranKhanPTI on the release of #Abhinandan. The door for deescalation has been opened. And this is really not the time for dumb and needless gloating by tv anchors
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) February 28, 2019
Ashok Swain, the so-called intellectual who has the nonchalant habit of peddling fake news against the establishment had gone gaga over Khan’s actions. Only if Mr Swain knew that his champion Imran Khan had even refused to participate in the meeting out of fear, he would have been crestfallen.
Imran Khan has behaved like a matured leader. His unconditional release of the captured Indian pilot is a great gesture and it takes away reasons from Modi to escalate the conflict. Modi is the big loser in this confrontation and he has to blame himself for this.
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) February 28, 2019
A serial convicted contempt of court offender, Prashant Bhushan had also sung praises of Imran Khan.
Great & mature peace gesture by Imran Khan to unconditionally release captured pilot. Hope that this will cool down the tension & both countries will start serious negotiations. Both countries simply cannot afford a war https://t.co/x7hCljb67F
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) February 28, 2019
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani military on 27th February 2019, when the MiG-21 he was flying was shot down by a Pakistani missile, seconds after he had shot down a much advanced F-16 aircraft.
Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa (retired) has mentioned that Pakistan did not have much choice in the matter than to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
“There are two parts to it. The main pressure on Pakistan was diplomatic and political. But there was also a military posture, the way he (Mr Sadiq) is saying that ‘his legs (General Bajwa) were shaking and all’, it is because the military posture was very offensive of all the three services, Army, Navy, Air Force. And God forbid had they hit our installations on February 27, we were also in a position to wipe out their forward brigades.” said BS Dhanoa.
Ever since the Balakot airstrikes, Pakistan tries to hide its misery by coming up with insipid ‘How was the tea?’ jibes but the statements by Ayaz Sadiq has made things clear as chalk and cheese–Islamabad is terrified of New Delhi and the airstrikes will continue to haunt the establishment of the country for a long long time.