Abhinandan’s mannequin in Pakistan museum

Karachi: Pakistan has displayed a mannequin resembling Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who downed its jet during an aerial combat and was held captive for three days, in an exhibit at a museum run by the Pakistan Air Force in Karachi, according to a media report.

Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan this week inaugurated an entire new section of Pakistan Air Force Museum where a mannequin painted to resemble Varthaman with his singature handlebar moustache has been put on display, the Express Tribune reported. Close to his statue are placed a tea mug and the fuselage and tail of Varthaman’s aircraft, MiG-21.

The gallery named “Operation Swift Retort” also contains images re-enacting the moment Varthaman’s aircraft was shot down, and photographs showing him being handed back to India at the Wagah border crossing. Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani Army on 27 February after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat. Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. He was released on the night of 1 March by Pakistan.

Varthaman, who showed courage and grace in handling the most difficult circumstances, was conferred the Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest war time gallantry medal.