As tensions between Pakistan and India continued to simmer, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a private television channel in Pakistan on Thursday that they were considering returning captured Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force (IAF) only if it leads to de-escalation.
Pakistan’s Geo TV quoted Qureshi as saying, “India handed over a dossier to the acting High Commissioner of Pakistan a day earlier and we will examine it. I will evaluate the dossier with an open heart and then see if talks will be held on that. We are willing to return the captured Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation.”
Qureshi also told the television channel that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was ready to hold “a telephonic conversation” with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Khan had called for peace during a press conference on Wednesday, seeking dialogue with India.
“There have been miscalculations in all big wars. Hence, I would like to invite Narendra Modi for dialogue over the Pulwama attack,” Khan had said.
“I want to invite Modi again for dialogue. Better sense must prevail. We should sit together and solve our problems,” Khan said.
While India has not confirmed the pilot’s identity, they have confirmed that the Wing Commander was being held in Pakistan.
India on Wednesday had demanded immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot and strongly objected to the neighbouring country’s “vulgar display” of an injured defence personnel in violation of international norms.
Summoning Pakistan’s Acting High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah to lodge a strong protest at “the unprovoked act of aggression” by Pakistan including targeting of military posts, the External Affairs Ministry said the envoy was clearly told that India reserves the right to take “firm and decisive action to protect its national security”.
India also made it clear to Pakistan that no harm should be caused to the Indian defence personnel, the External Affairs Ministry said.