Clean bowled

Cricketer-turned-Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan threw a surprise when he announced in the country’s Parliament that Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan on Wednesday, will be released as a ‘gesture of peace’. Imran said that he tried to reach out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi too. “I don’t want escalation. But our desire for de-escalation should not be taken as our weakness,” he said.

This threw a debate that whether Imran’s announcement was genuine or was he pressurised due to tactical diplomatic moves by India to ensure safe release of Abhinandan. It must be noted that India had rejected Imran’s call for a dialogue, saying there would be no deal on Abhinandan Varthaman’s release. It is widely felt that unless Pakistan commits itself on destroying the terror camps of Jaish-e-Mohammad, there is no point in extending an olive branch to the neighbouring nation.

Remember India summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan, Syed Haider Shah, and demanded the immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot a couple of days ago and it followed it up with diplomatic measures that put Pakistan in a corner.

Unless the terror attacks come down, there is no point in going for talks with Pakistan. There have been occasions when they invited us for talks on one side and continued to sponsor terror outfits on the other side. A strict action is the need of the hour.

NT Bureau