Islamabad: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was “sound and safe at the time of his landing” in Pakistani territory, details published on Thursday in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper revealed.
The report quotes an eyewitness, Mohammad Razzaq Chaudhry, 58, who was in the courtyard of his house in Horra’n village, located barely seven kilometres from the Line of Control (LoC), in Bhimber district.
At about 8.45 a.m. on Wednesday, there was “smoke and sound” which made Chaudhry realise that a “dogfight was going on up above in the sky”, the report said.
He saw two aircraft had caught fire but while one sped across the LoC, the other burst into flames and came down speedily, Dawn quoted Chaudhry as saying.
He said he noticed a parachute descending towards the ground, which made the landing around 1 kilometre away from his house on the southern side. “A pilot emerged out of the parachute safe and sound,” he told Dawn over telephone.
“The pilot, who was equipped with a pistol, asked the youngsters whether it was India or Pakistan,” Chaudhry said, adding that one of the men responded that it was India.
The pilot, later identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan, is said to have shouted some slogans and asked which place exactly it was in India, according to the Dawn report.
Chaudhry added that the youngster there “very intelligently repeated his slogans”, allowing the “delusion” to continue.
The Wing Commander was made to believe “it was Qilla’n”, Chaudhry was quoted as saying. The pilot told them that his “back was broken” and requested for water to drink, the Dawn said.
But “some emotional youth, who could not digest the slogans, shouted Pakistan Army Zindabad”. On this, Abhinandan took a shot in the air and the boys picked up stones, Chaudhry told Dawn.
The Indian pilot then started running. He ran a distance of half a kilometre in backward direction while pointing his pistol towards the boys who were chasing him, Chaudhry added.
During this time, the Indian pilot also fired some more gunshots in the air to frighten them but to no avail, the eyewitness said.
Then Abhinandan jumped into a small pond where he took out some documents and maps from his pockets, some of which he tried to swallow and soaked others in water. Chaudhry apparently came to know of this from the boys who chased the pilot and described it to the Dawn reporter.
The boys kept on asking him to drop his weapon, Chaudhry said, adding that one boy shot at his leg.
Finally, after a long chase, the Indian pilot surrendered, Dawn was told. According to the newspaper report: the Indian pilot gave in saying he should not be killed.
The boys got hold of him. Some of them roughed him up, in a fit of rage, while others kept on stopping the attackers, Dawn reported.