Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has expressed his desire to receive Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman at the Attari border in Amritsar district of Punjab when he arrives on Friday after being released by Pakistan. The Congress leader tweeted his request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Pakistan announced that the pilot will be released on March 1. "Dear @narendramodi ji, I'm touring the border areas of Punjab & I'm presently in Amritsar. Came to know that @pid_gov has decided to release #AbhinandanVartaman from Wagha. It will be a honour for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are alumnus of the NDA as I am (sic)," Singh wrote.
Dear @narendramodi ji , I’m touring the border areas of Punjab & I’m presently in Amritsar. Came to know that @pid_gov has decided to release #AbhinandanVartaman from Wagha. It will be a honour for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are alumnus of the NDA as I am.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) February 28, 2019
The Chief Minister is presently touring the border villages in Punjab, which share border with Pakistan.
The 35-year-old Wing Commander was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday after his MiG-21 Bison fell in Pakistani territory while chasing Pakistani F-16 fighter. Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the captured IAF pilot will be freed as a ‘goodwill gesture’ after New Delhi sought his unconditional, immediate and unharmed release.
The IAF pilot is likely to be released by Pakistan through the Wagah-Attari joint check-post, around 30 km from Amritsar. Singh had earlier welcomed Imran Khan's announcement as "a goodwill gesture that would help ease the prevailing tensions at the border."
Meanwhile, official sources said in New Delhi that a delegation of IAF will on Friday receive Wing Commander Varthaman at the Wagah border.
Following reports of the IAF pilot's capture by Pakistan, the Chief Minister had urged the Indian government to take all possible steps to secure his early release. He had also urged Pakistan to ensure the officer's safety and wellbeing as per the Geneva Conventions.
With Agency Inputs