Official sources said that the handing over of pilot Abhinandan Varthaman to India at Wagah was delayed on Friday as he was asked to record a statement on camera by Pakistani authorities before he was allowed to cross the border.
In the video message, Varthaman was seen saying that he had entered Pakistan’s space to “find a target” but his aircraft was shot down. “The army personnel saved me from the mob. The Pakistani army is very professional and I am impressed by it,” he said, while criticising the Indian media.
However facing backlash for a video that seemed edited, the Pakistan government later took it down from its official Twitter account, Radio Pakistan. The video had several jump cuts leaving the viewer to ponder upon the fact that it had been edited heavily, possibly to fit Pakistani propaganda.
The Pakistani media although reported that “his papers were being checked at the Wagah immigration” that was why he was not being “immediately” handed over to the Indian authorities.
“It’s definitely psyops in the sense that why should you put out this video? You’re only trying to show that you’re treating him well. In the first set of videos that came out where he was physically manhandled by some locals. Pakistan would have got some criticism over it. They are playing the ‘responsible country’ card and showed that they are treating our pilot well,” retired Lt General DS Hooda, the former commanding-in-chief of the Northern Command, had told News18.
Wing Commander Abhinandan returned home almost 60 hours after he was taken captive in Pakistan after being shot down while chasing an intruding Pakistani F-16.