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Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

General Bajwa's 'legs were shaking' after Qureshi said India was about to attack

  • Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi revealed at a meeting in February 2019, the possibility of an attack by India if Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was not released
  • PML-N lawmaker Ayaz Sadiq, who was present at that meeting, spoke of the incident in the national assembly on Wednesday

Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa's "legs were shaking" during a meeting in February last year when that country's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told parliamentary leaders that India was about to attack, a news report quoted a Pakistani lawmaker as saying.

The lawmaker, Ayaz Sadiq of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), was recounting the events of a February 2019 meeting during which the Imran Khan government took the decision to free Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, ANI news agency reported on Thursday.

In a speech in the national assembly on Wednesday, Sadiq said foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had pointed out that if Pakistan did not release Wing Commander Varthaman, India would attack Pakistan "that night by 9 pm".

The PML-N leader said that Qureshi, at the meeting with the parliamentary leaders, attended by the Pakistan People’s Party and the PML-N where Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa was also present, had asked for Wing Commander Varthaman to be let free.

"I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting which (Pakistan prime minister) Imran Khan had refused to attend and chief of army staff General Bajwa came into the room, his legs were shaking and he was perspiring. The foreign minister said for god's sake let Abhinandan go, India's about to attack Pakistan at 9 pm," Sadiq recounted the events of the meeting, according to ANI.

Abhinandan Varthaman's fighter jet was downed while pursuing a Pakistani fighter jet during a dogfight, a day after India launched an airstrike on a terror camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan’s Balakot region in Khyber Paktunkhwa province. The trigger for the Indian action was a suicide attack on a paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers.

Varthaman returned to India via Attari-Wagah border on 1 March, 2019. He was awarded the Vir Chakra on Independence Day by President Ram Nath Kovind for his exemplary bravery.

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