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Pakistan was not under 'pressure' or 'any compulsion' to release Indian pilot Abhinandan


Islamabad, Mar 02: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday said that the Pakistan was not under "pressure" or "any compulsion" to release Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, a day after the IAF Wing Commander returned home.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi

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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".

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.

India has been maintaining that the Pakistani decision is in consonance with the Geneva Conventions. Pakistan was under intense pressure from the US, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to de-escalate the tensions with India in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack and release the Indian pilot.

[Record, edit, delete: Pak forced Abhinandan to speak on video]

India has repeatedly told Pakistan to act against terror groups operating from its soil and recently handed over dossier containing "specific details" of the involvement of the JeM in the Pulwama terror attack and the presence of camps of the UN-proscribed terror outfit in Pakistan.

The IAF pilot's release was seen as a major step towards defusing a tense situation triggered by India's retaliation over Pakistan's continued support for terrorism.

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