Press Trust of india

Pak willing to consider returning IAF pilot if it leads to ‘de-escalation’: Qureshi

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Islamabad: Pakistan is willing to consider returning the detained IAF pilot if it leads to “de-escalation” of tension with India, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Thursday.

His statement came a day after Pakistan detained Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control in which a Pakistani jet was downed. IAF also lost a MiG 21 jet in the engagement.

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

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

India 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 has also been 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.

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