Attari, Mar 1: A huge crowd assembled at the Attari Joint Check Post (JCP) on Friday to welcome Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman who will be released by Pakistani authorities later in the day.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the Indian Pilot will be released this afternoon via Wagah.
People started arriving in Attari, since 6 a.m. Their numbers increased by 9 a.m.
“We have come here to welcome our country’s hero back home. We will give him a grand welcome. He showed a lot of bravery in the air combat and even after being captured by the Pakistanis,” Jitender, a resident of Amritsar, who arrived here with his friends, told media.
Abhinandan’s parents, Air Marshal S. Varthaman (Retired) and mother Shobha Varthaman also arrived in Attari to welcome their son back home.
The Wing Commander was captured on Wednesday (February 27) by Pakistan after his MiG-21 Bison fighter jet was hit by Pakistan Air Force jets near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the reports, the pilot is expected to be brought by Pakistani authorities from Rawalpindi to Lahore and handed over first to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) as per the rules of the Geneva Convention before being brought to the JCP on Friday afternoon.
“Many celebrities and other important people come to Attari border on different occasions. But today, a real hero is coming back. We will give him a big and warm welcome with dhol and bhangra,” Manjit Singh, who was carrying a dhol, said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced the release of the 35-year-old Wing Commander.