ISLAMABAD Pakistan was not under pressure or any compulsion to release Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday, a day after the IAF Wing Commander returned home.
In an interview with BBC Urdu, Qureshi said: “We wanted to convey to them (India) that we do not want to increase your sorrow, we do not want your citizens to be miserable, we want peace”.
Varthaman returned to India from Pakistan on Friday, nearly 60 hours after he was captured following a dogfight when his MiG 21 was shot down.
Qureshi dismissed the notion that the captured IAF pilot was released owing to pressure or as a compulsion.
“Pakistan will not allow anti-state elements to risk the peace of the country or the region. We plan on taking action against extremist groups,” Geo news quoted him as saying.
“There was no pressure on Pakistan to release him nor any compulsion,” Qureshi told BBC Urdu.
He said that Pakistan does not want the peace of the region to be risked over politics.
“Pakistan does not want to go in the past, but if it goes in the past, then we will have to see how the attack on Parliament, Pathankot and Uri took place and that is a long story,” the foreign minister said.
Qureshi reiterated that if evidence is shared against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), then action will be taken. On Friday he admitted that JeM’s chief Masood Azhar was in Pakistan.