Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday Pakistan was making all-out efforts to maintain peace in South Asia and added that freeing of the captured Indian Air Force wing commander was meant to ensure that peace reigned supreme in the region.
Abhinandan Varthaman was handed over to Indian authorities late in the evening after completion of documentation at the Wagah immigration centre.
Though there was no official word about the prime minister’s meeting with cabinet members, sources said he attributed Pakistan’s success in the standoff with India to the Almighty’s blessings.
“Our intent was good and Allah Almighty helped Pakistan in successfully countering the Indian attack and averting war in the region,” the prime minister was quoted as having said.
“We are a peace-loving nation and do not want to impose war (on others) as it may result in disaster,” the prime minister said.
He arrived in Lahore early in the day and held meetings with Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, some ministers and later chaired a meeting of the provincial cabinet at the chief minister’s secretariat.
The ministers told that Imran Khan was critical of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s attempts to stir war hysteria as it could endanger peace in the region. The ministers quoted the premier as having said the core point of tension between Pakistan and India was Kashmir.
“The PTI government’s agenda is to maintain peace and bring prosperity by lifting people out of abject poverty,” the prime minister was quoted as having said.
The Punjab cabinet unanimously praised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of peace and his handling of the crisis arising out of the Indian incursion. The cabinet welcomed the decision to release Abhinandan, the captured Indian pilot.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said Pakistan had achieved the moral high ground over India by releasing the Indian pilot. “The international community has welcomed the release of the Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture and termed it a big leap towards maintaining peace in the region,” he said.
“Squadron Leader Hassan Siddiqui is the nation’s pride,” the chief minister added, referring to the PAF officer who downed the Indian Mig this week.