Pakistan has released a purported video of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is seen praising the Pakistani army and slamming the Indian media for over hyping its broadcast. The video, which has been heavily edited, shows the Indian Air Force Officer narrating events that led to his capture.
He says, “My name is Wing Commander Abhinandan and I am a pilot with the Indian Air Force. I was trying to look for my target, your Air Force shot me down. After that I had to abandon my jet, which had got damaged. I ejected. As soon as I ejected after deploying my parachute, I had my pistol but there were too many people. I had only one option to save myself. I dropped my pistol. I tried to run, but there were many people chasing me. They had their morale very high.”
The IAF officer, who returned to India on Friday evening, continued, “That was when two jawans from the Pakistani army arrived and they saved me from the mob. There was also a captain from the Pakistani army. He came and saved me from these people and ensured I was not harmed. He also took me to his unit, where I was administered first aid. Then, I was taken to a hospital, where I was examined and more treatment was provided.”
Later in the video he’s seen praising the Pakistani army, calling it a peace-loving professional service. He says, “Pakistani army is a very professional service. I see peace in it. I have spent time with the Pakistani army. I am very impressed,” the IAF officer is seen confessing before his sentence ends abruptly.
The video ends with Wing Commander Abhinandan slamming the Indian media for its provocative broadcasts and misleading the country’s population. He says, “Indian media always exaggerate what they broadcast. They add sensationalism even in a small matter. People get misled by that.”
The video was released by the ruling party of Pakistan from its official Twitter handle. While posting the video, it said, “A safe return back as ensured by PM Imran Khan for IAF Officer Abhinandan. He leaves with massive praise for the Pakistan Army as a professional institution, where he sees peace which is derailed by the mania spread by Indian Media.”
However, they deleted the video in the face of growing outrage from India.
Propaganda video shot by Pakistan military while #Abhinandan was in custody is a disgrace.. How shameless is this. Also over a dozen cuts in the video.
— Sumanth Raman (@sumanthraman) March 1, 2019
Just saw a crass video shot by Pakistanis of WC Abhinandan while in custody. There is no peace without dignity and Pakistan just forgot that basic lesson in violation of Geneva convention. Propaganda has limits: not at cost of decency. Makes your 'goodwill' claim sound hollow!
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) March 1, 2019
Don't know what's more distasteful, pathetic – Pakistan's botched up video after a "peace gesture" or BJP hailing Wing Commander Abhinandan's return as successful completion of a "pilot project" by PM Modi.
— Ruchira Chaturvedi (@RuchiraC) March 1, 2019
The brave Indian officer was released on Friday night, two days after he was captured by the Pakistani military. The first video of his bloodied face with hands tied behind his back had evoked angry reactions from people around the world.
Soon after the video emerged, Pakistani TV channels began to attack India claiming that Wing Commander Abhinandan had admitted that his plane was shot down by their country’s Air Force while the Indian officer was still trying to find his target.
Samaa TV in particular was very disdainful towards India in its broadcast on the video.