28/02/2019 4:47 PM IST | Updated 28/02/2019 5:23 PM IST

Imran Khan Says Pakistan Will Release Indian Pilot Tomorrow As A Gesture Of Peace

Earlier, on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said Pakistan would consider the pilot’s release if it meant de-escalation of tensions with India.

Aly Song / Reuters

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said the country would release captured Indian Air Force pilot on Friday as a gesture of peace.

Khan made the statement at a session of the Pakistani parliament on Thursday.

Pakistan had on Wednesday claimed it shot down two Indian fighter jets over Pakistani air space and arrested a pilot.

India had demanded immediate and safe return of its IAF pilot, captured by Pakistan after an aerial confrontation, and strongly objected to the neighbouring country’s “vulgar display” of an injured defence personnel in violation of international norms.

In a demarche to Pakistan, India had said no harm should be caused to the Indian defence personnel.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had told Geo News Pakistan would consider the pilot’s release if it meant de-escalation of tensions with India.

Qureshi had said PM Imran Khan was ready to talk to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi over the telephone to offer him peace. 

Qureshi told the TV channel that if India gives priority to peace, Pakistan is ready for peace.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to talk to Narendra Modi on the telephone and ready to extend an invitation of peace. Is Modi ready?” he asked.

“We are ready for every eventuality. If they give priority to peace, we are ready for peace. If they prioritise dialogue, we are ready for dialogue,” the Foreign Minister said.

Qureshi also confirmed the receipt of India’s dossier on the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed in an attack claimed by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

“Let’s talk together on the basis of the dossier. I am ready to talk. You want to talk about terrorism, I am ready. You want to talk about peace, I am ready. You want to make it a common challenge, I am ready,” he said.

The dossier handed over by India has “specific details” of the involvement of the JeM in the Pulwama terror attack and the presence of camps of the UN-proscribed terror outfit in Pakistan.

Tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack by JeM.

India carried out air strikes against the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In the operation, the government said a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for suicide attacks were eliminated. The facility at Balakot was headed by Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of the JeM chief.