Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz has hinted at legal action against former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq for accusing the government of releasing Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of the Indian Air Force (IAF) under pressure, fearing Indian attack.
“What Ayaz Sadiq said is not forgivable,” he tweeted, adding that law will take its course now.
Faraz asserted that “weakening the state” was an “unpardonable offense”, and promised that Sadiq and his followers will be punished for it.
The statement by the government’s premier spokesperson comes a day after Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Babar Iftikhar set the record straight about the events surrounding February 27 — the day Pakistan downed two IAF planes and captured Abhinandan.
“Yesterday such a statement was given in which facts were attempted to be twisted surrounding the events that day,” the military spokesperson said during a media briefing that had come a day after Sadiq among other senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) parliamentarians accused the government of taking the decision to release the pilot under pressure.
Earlier, Sadiq had said that FM Qureshi “was present in the meeting, which Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan had refused to attend”.
“India never attacked Pakistan but the government nonetheless handed over Abhinandan to the Indian authorities,” he had said, adding that it was the PTI government and not the opposition that had passed an ordinance to “facilitate” Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Reacting to his claims, the FM regretted how “responsible people were making irresponsible statements”.
He said he had not expected the former NA speaker to say Pakistan let go Abhinandan under pressure and that his comments were “contrary to the truth”.
Qureshi explained that in the meeting, the government had taken all parliamentary leaders into confidence regarding the intelligence reports it had received but made no mention of the captured Indian pilot. “Highly irresponsible statements are being issued for political gains,” he lamented while also slamming the opposition for its stance on Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.
“These people are misleading the nation on the issues of Kulbhushan and Abhinandan,” he had maintained.
Ahead of the military’s version, Sadiq had also questioned PM Imran’s motives behind delaying a meeting related to Abhinandan on the day of his capture.
He lambasted the Indian media for “distorting” his comments from the National Assembly session a day earlier when he had alleged that the government took the decision to release the IAF pilot under pressure.
“One thing is clear: Abhinandan did not come to Pakistan to distribute sweets; he had attacked Pakistan,” the PML-N leader said.