Amid backlash over his remarks against the Pakistan Army chief, posters featuring Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman came up in parts of Lahore on Saturday. The posters, which dubbed him as “traitor”, went viral on social media after first being spotted in the constituency of the former National Assembly speaker. In some of the posters, Sadiq’s face was morphed to resemble Varthaman.
This came days after the PML-N leader told Parliament that Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was perspiring and his “legs were shaking” when Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that India would have attacked “that night at 10 pm” if Pakistan did not release Abhinandan.
Reacting to Sadiq’s remarks, Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said “there was no pressure on Pakistan at all regarding the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan.”
“The Government of Pakistan took the decision as a gesture of peace, which was appreciated by the international community,” PTI quoted him as saying.
The Wing Commander had landed across the border after an aerial dogfight following the Balakot airstrikes by New Delhi last year. Before his jet was hit, Varthaman had downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. He was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan.
Sadiq, however, did not mention when the meeting between the top Pakistani officials were held.
The statement prompted BJP chief J P Nadda to target Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of not believing in anything “Indian” and “mocking” the armed forces.
Sharing a video clipping of the speech by the Pakistani leader, Nadda tweeted: “Congress’ princeling does not believe anything Indian, be it our Army, our Government, our Citizens. So, here is something from his ‘Most Trusted Nation’, Pakistan. Hopefully now he sees some light…”
“Congress Party premised it’s entire campaign around keeping our armed forces weak. They mocked our armed forces, questioned their valour and tried every trick to ensure India doesn’t get latest Rafale Planes. The people India rejected such politics and punished Congress,” he tweeted.
On February 26, 2019, IAF jets had bombed the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camps in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan to avenge the Pulwama terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.