Press Trust of india

Pak court dismisses plea to stop the release of IAF pilot

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Islamabad, Mar 1 :  The Islamabad High Court on Friday dismissed a Pakistani citizen's plea to stop the imminent release of the captured Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinanadan Varthaman.

Pakistan detained the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot on Wednesday following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control when his MiG 21 fighter jet was downed.

The Pakistan government on Thursday decided to release him as "a first step" to open negotiations with India to de-escalate tension after a suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed left 49 CRPF personnel dead.

A Pakistani citizen had filed the petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to stop the imminent release of Varthaman, saying he committed crime against the country and should be put on trial here.

The petition in the IHC sought the court's order to stop Prime Minister Imran Khan's government from handing over the Indian Air Force pilot.

The petitioner said the Indian pilot had violated the airspace of Pakistan to bomb the country and therefore he committed crime against Pakistan and should face trial here.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minhallah heard the petition.

Abhinanadan is likely to be handed over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border on Friday afternoon.

"The Indian pilot will be handed over to Indian likely around 4pm," a source in Pakistan Rangers told PTI.

Strict security measures have been taken at the Wagah border.

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