“We need peace”: Pakistan releases new Abhinandan video

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The Pakistan Army has leaked a fresh video of fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman – who was captured in February 2019 after his jet crashed inside Pakistani administered territory – in which the captured Wing Commander talks of peace.

The video was leaked on the second anniversary of his capture and came just days after a joint declaration by armies of India and Pakistan agreed to uphold peace on the borders in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I have seen both countries and found no difference,” the Indian pilot says in the video, uploaded on Twitter by Pakistan-based Capital TV. “Both are equally beautiful. When I crashed I didn’t realize if I was in Pakistan or in my own country India — because both seem alike, even the people. Then I was deeply injured and couldn’t move. I tried to ascertain which country I was in and when I realized that I was not in my own country I tried to run. The [locals] people chased me.”

Varthaman is further heard saying that “unka josh kaafi uncha tha“, the locals had high spirits as they tried to capture him. “Then two Pakistan Army [personnel] arrived — among them a captain — and saved me from these people,” Varthaman is recorded having said.

He added that the Pakistani troops “took me to their unit, where I was administered first aid and later hospitalized, where I was examined and given more aid. Since then I have been here, in your hospitality.”

The leaked video has been selectively edited and the message put out has deliberate peace overtones, in tandem with the Pakistan army’s recent policy.

When an unseen interrogator asked Varthaman about the situation in Kashmir, tense at that time owing to a series of events after the Pulwama suicide attack and airstrikes by India inside Pakistani territory, the Wing Commander said that “neither you nor I know that. I find the Pakistan Army a very fine professional force — and very chivalrous. I am very impressed by the chivalry displayed by the Pakistan Army.”

Towards the end of the two-minute video, Varthaman called for peace between the two neighboring countries that have fought three wars over Kashmir. “There is war when there isn’t peace,” he said. “I don’t know how to bring peace but I just know that we need peace. I see no reason for us [India and Pakistan] to continue with any kind of hostilities. There must be peace…”

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