Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa's "legs were shaking" while Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a meeting of parliamentary leaders that India was about to attack their country, said a Pakistani lawmaker as he recounted the events of February 2019 meeting during which the Imran Khan government decided to release Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
In a speech in the National Assembly, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Ayaz Sadiq said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had in an important meeting pointed out that if Pakistan did not release Wing Commander Varthaman, India would attack Pakistan "that night by 9 pm."
The PML-N leader told opposition leaders that Mr Qureshi in a meeting with the parliamentary leaders, including PPP and PML-N and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had asked for Wing Commander Varthaman to be let free.
"I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting in which 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. Foreign Minister said for god's sake let Abhinandan go, India's about to attack Pakistan at 9 pm," Mr Sadiq recounted the events of the meeting.
Dunya News quoted Mr Sadiq as saying that the opposition supported the government in all issues including Wing Commander Varthaman, but would not be able to further support it.
Wing Commander 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, which claimed a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers. A Pakistani F-16 was also shot down.
Wing Commander Varthaman returned to India via Attari-Wagah border on March 1, 2019. He was awarded the Vir Chakra on Independence Day by President Ram Nath Kovind for his exemplary bravery.