IHC dismisses petition challenging release of Indian pilot

Published: March 1, 2019
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Islamabad High Court. PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

Islamabad High Court. PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday dismissed a petition challenging the government’s decision to hand over the captured Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan, to Indian authorities at the Wagah Border in Lahore.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced to release the pilot as ‘peace gesture’ at a joint session of parliament. He stressed, however, that Pakistan’s desire for de-escalation should not be confused as weakness.

Captured IAF pilot to be handed over to India at Wagah Border

The petitioner said in the petition that the premier did not take the parliament into confidence over the government’s decision to release the Indian pilot.

“The Indian pilot was arrested when he was on a mission against Pakistan,” maintained the petitioner.

“Indian aggression is still on the Line of Control (LoC) and even the ‘Geneva Conventions’ says that the prisoners should be released once the conflict surrounding the nations involved in it is over,” the petition added.

On this occasion, the IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah questioned if the patriotism of the elected representatives of the government could be mistrusted?

“The prime minister made the announcement of the Indian pilot’s release in the parliament. When all the parliamentarians agree at a point then any debate over it is unnecessary,” said Chief Justice Minallah.

He insisted, “According to a 2014 verdict of the Supreme Court, in the matters of foreign affairs, the courts shall not intervene.”

Chief Justice Minallah later dismissed the petition.

The Indian pilot became the human face of the flare-up between Islamabad and New Delhi over the disputed region of Kashmir following the release of videos showing him being captured and later held in custody.

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In one of the videos that went viral on social media, Abhinandan praised Pakistan Army officials as ‘thorough gentlemen’.

According to security sources, all arrangements for his release have been finalised. The India pilot will be accompanied by the Indian air attaché to Pakistan.

Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian aircraft after they intruded into the country’s airspace.

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