Record, edit, delete: Pak forced Abhinandan to speak on video
New Delhi, Mar 02: The handing over of pilot Abhinandan Varthaman to India at Wagah was delayed on Friday as he was asked to record a statement on camera by Pakistani authorities before he was allowed to cross the border, according to sources.
Sources tell OneIndia that he was forced to record the video. It was extracted under duress and again was in complete violation of the Geneva Conventions.
At 8.30 pm (local) time, the Pakistan government released the pilot's video message to the local media in which he said as to how he was captured.
"Recording of his video message caused delay in his handing over," a source said. In the video message, Varthaman said he entered Pakistan's space to "find a target" but his aircraft was shot down. "The army personnel saved me from the mob. The Pakistani army is very professional and I am impressed by it," he said, while criticising the Indian media.
Pakistan after facing backlash, took down the video from its official Twitter account, Radio Pakistan. The video had several jump cuts indicating that it had been edited heavily. One user on Twitter pointed out that there were 17 cuts and jumps in the 24 second long video. Some Twitter users even advised, that Pakistan source better editing software.
India has maintained that Varthaman's plane was downed when IAF planes foiled an attempt by Pakistan Air Force to target Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir on February 27, a day after New Delhi had conducted counter-terror operations in Pakistan's Balakot. He bailed out of the aircraft but drifted to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where he was detained by the Pakistan Army.
Although there has been no official word as to what time he was brought to the Wagah border on Friday, but the sources say he reached Lahore after 4 pm.
The Pakistani media reported that "his papers were being checked at the Wagah immigration" that was why he was not being "immediately" handed over to the Indian authorities.