Visuals from Wagah Border in Punjab
Visuals from Wagah Border in Punjab

People gather at Wagah Border to welcome IAF pilot, security tightened

ANI | Updated: Mar 01, 2019 15:22 IST

Attari-Wagah (Punjab) [India] March 1 (ANI): Amid tight security, people in huge numbers from across India have gathered at the Wagah Border in Punjab to welcome Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who will be released by Pakistan this afternoon.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Thursday announced that the country will release the IAF pilot.
Earlier today, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that the “Indian pilot will be released this afternoon via Wagah.”
Once the news spread, people started gathering at the border to welcome him.
“My home is 150 kms away from here. I have come here only for Wing Commander Abhinandan. Even I have a son. It is an emotional moment for all of us here,” said a local.
Vir Singh, an 80-year-old man, was seen beating drum enthusiastically to express his happiness ahead of Abhinandan’s arrival.
Meanwhile, a special thanksgiving prayer was organised today by state Home Guards at Kalikambal Temple in Chennai ahead of Varthaman's release.
India used diplomatic and military pressure to ensure that Pakistan releases Wing Commander Varthaman unconditionally, top sources had said in New Delhi on Thursday, soon after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that the pilot will be freed on Friday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no compromises on the Pakistani proposal for holding talks, the sources said.
India mounted pressure on Pakistan through the international community, with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval holding talks with the US and other P-5 countries, the sources said.
Wing Commander Varthaman, flying a MiG -21 Bison fighter plane, was chasing Pakistani jets which crossed over to PoK where his aircraft was shot down. He ejected safely and was taken to the custody by the Pakistani Army. (ANI)