ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi lauded the efforts of Pakistan Air Force, a year after it downed at least one Indian jet which crossed the Pakistani airspace.
In February 2019, Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s plane was shot down in a fight over Azad Jammu Kashmir, during an aerial battle which brought nuclear-armed India and Pakistan to the brink of a new war.
PM Imran also addressed the gathering, where he said that he praised the Pakistani nation for dealing with the crisis sensibly.
“Our media showed maturity, if you contrast it to what was happening in India and how their media and politicians reacted,” said the premier regarding the incident.
Earlier, the FM addressed the ceremony held at the anniversary of the event, where Prime Minister Imran Khan was the chief guest.
“My first message to our eastern neighbour is that do not think of any ill-considered misadventure, because if you do, we will respond and respond immediately, as it is our right to self-defence,” he said.
Reiterating Pakistan’s inclination towards regional peace, the foreign minister said that the country wants peaceful relations with its neighbours.
Speaking on the ongoing Afghan peace process, the foreign minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is always of the view that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict.
FM Qureshi said that Pakistan facilitated the peace process in Afghanistan and is being recognised for it now.
“Pakistan is a strong advocate for an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue as soon as the peace agreement is signed in Doha,” he added.
FM Qureshi slammed India, saying that it has imposed restrictions in Kashmir, claiming it an internal matter.
He said that UN’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres negated this claim here in Islamabad.
On Monday, the PAF released a new song to mark the first anniversary of the downing of Indian jets.
The song ‘Allah o Akbar’ has been sung by the singer Shuja Haider and honours the bravery of Sherdils. Last year, Pakistan also put on display a statue of an Indian pilot whose plane was shot down on February 27, 2019.
The life-sized statue of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman — complete with his signature moustache — had been installed in an exhibit at a museum in Karachi run by PAF.
The Indian Wing Commander was later released by Pakistan under a peace gesture by Prime Minister Imran Khan.