WASHINGTON: Fatima Bhutto, the niece of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and granddaughter of former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, asked the Imran Khan government to release an Indian Air Force pilot captured after air combat.
There has been an aerial engagement between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in which New Delhi said it shot down a Pakistan fighter jet but lost one of its MiG-21s.
The Indian government confirmed that an Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Abhinandan Commander piloting a MiG-21 fighter jet has not returned and is in Pakistan’s custody after he landed across the Line of Control.
The pilot was captured on Wednesday after he ejected safely from his MiG 21 Bison aircraft. India has demanded the “immediate and safe return” of the pilot.
Ms Bhutto in an op-ed in the New York Times wrote that “I and many other young Pakistanis have called upon our country to release the captured Indian pilot as a gesture of our commitment to peace, humanity and dignity.”
“We have spent a lifetime at war. I do not want to see Pakistani soldiers die. I do not want to see Indian soldiers die. We cannot be a subcontinent of orphans. My generation of Pakistanis have fought for the right to speak, and we are not afraid to lend our voices to that most righteous cause: peace.”
“But our long history with military dictatorships and experience of terrorism and uncertainty means that my generation of Pakistanis has no tolerance, no appetite, for jingoism or war,” she added.
She further said that “I have never seen my country at peace with its neighbour. But never before have I seen a war played out between two nuclear-armed states with Twitter accounts.”
In the afternoon on Wednesday, #saynotowar hashtag began to trend in Pakistan, before hitting the worldwide number 1 spot on Twitter.
After the Pulwama terror attack that took place on February 14 and killed over 40 CRPF personnel, tensions between India and Pakistan have been running high. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Tuesday, India carried out an air strike on a terror camp run by Jaish-E-Mohammad in Balakot, a hill town in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province following which there has been an aerial engagement between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).