IAF pilot Abhinandan was detained by Pakistani security forces on Wednesday, February 27, when he landed on Pakistan occupied Kashmir after ejecting from a MiG-21 Bison aircraft. India and Pakistan were involved in air combat where Wing Commander Abhinandan had shot down a Pakistani F-16 with two pilots in it. Abhinandan's Mig-21 Bison aircraft was subsequently shot down by Pakistani forces.
Videos show the pilot being beaten by an angry mob over a river bed even as voices in the background shouted "Enough." He was later saved by the Pakistan Army who blindfolded him and led him away. Abhinandan had sustained injuries on his face.
Another video released by the Pakistan army shows the pilot with his face cleaned up, drinking tea and answering a Pakistan Army Major's questions. Abhinandan had said that he received excellent treatment from the Pakistan army and that the tea tasted was very good too.
"Yesterday I tried to call (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi to say that we don't want escalation. Our push for de-escalation doesn't mean we are afraid," Imran Khan had said in an address to the Pakistan Parliament, "we have an Indian pilot. As a peace gesture, we will release him tomorrow."
He added, " Pakistan acted with caution and restraint and replied to Indian aggression only to show that we are capable of safeguarding our sovereignty. Indians committed aggression on Pakistan two days before... The entire nation is united in the current situation... Peace is vital for regional progress."
PM Khan said that this is the first gesture on their part to open negotiations between the two countries.
After Abhinandan's capture, India summoned Pakistan's envoy on Wednesday and handed over a demarche seeking "immediate and safe return" of Abhinandan. Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the country is willing to release the IAF pilot if it can lead to a de-escalation of tension between the two countries.
"Pakistan is willing to consider returning the Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation," Qureshi said in Islamabad.