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Thousands of people assemble in Attari to welcome IAF pilot Abhinandan

The wing commander is likely to be brought by Pakistani authorities from Rawalpindi to Lahore and then will be handed over first to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) under rules of the Geneva Convention before being brought to the JCP, according to a source.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 1 March 2019 5:19 AM GMT

Thousands of people assemble in Attari to welcome IAF pilot Abhinandan
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Thousands of people assemble in Attari to welcome IAF pilot Abhinandan
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Attari/Punjab: A horde of people flocked in at Punjab's Attari Joint Check Post (JCP) to receive Indian Air Force (IAF) wing commander, Abhinandan Varthaman, on Friday, who will be released by Pakistani authorities today.

A large number of people started pouring in since 6 a.m. and their numbers swelled 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 local resident said.

Abhinandan's bravery and valiant was celebrated by co-passengers of his parents, Air Marshal S. Varthaman (Retired) and mother Shobha Varthaman (doctor), who boarded a flight from Chennai to New Delhi on Thursday evening. They will be in Attari today to welcome their son back home.

The 35-year-old IAF pilot was captured by Pakistan in an air combat, on Wednesday, after his MiG-21 Bison fighter jet was hit by Pakistan Air Force jets near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

The wing commander is likely to be brought by Pakistani authorities from Rawalpindi to Lahore and then will be handed over first to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) under rules of the Geneva Convention before being brought to the JCP, according to a source.

The Border Security Force (BSF), which mans the JCP and the 553-km long International Border with Pakistan in Punjab is on high alert.

Varthaman will be debriefed by defence and security officials after his return before he is taken to New Delhi from the Amritsar airport.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Thursday, had announced in Parliament that Varthaman would be released on Friday as a “peace gesture”.

Know the lesser known facts about the Wagha border, through which IAF wing commander, Abhinandan Varthaman, will come back to his motherland:

-Wagha is a village situated on the Grand Trunk Road between Amritsar, Punjab and Lahore, in Pakistan.

-It is situated 32 kilometers from Amritsar and 22 km from Lahore.

-Today Wagah Border is known worldwide for its Retreat Ceremony .

-When Pakistan was seceded from India on the midnight of August1 4-15, 1947, the Atari village came under India and Wagah landed in Pakistan.

-On the Grand Trunk Road, where, Pakistan has set up a bamboo on its side, India hosted tricolor.

-After some time, India installed a small gate and the two countries placed their flags on the pillars.

-In 1958, a police check post was formed.

-With the establishment of BSF in 1965, it was entrusted with responsibility here. And this is how the world famous retreat started.

-A big gate was established in the 1990s.

-In 1998, when terrorism spread in Punjab, fencing was done on the border.

-In 2001, viewer's gallery was created to see retreat here.

Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday. It came 12 days after the JeM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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