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Live: Pakistan to release Indian pilot as 'peace gesture'

Live: Pakistan to release Indian pilot as 'peace gesture'
Live: Pakistan to release Indian pilot as 'peace gesture'

UN welcomed Pakistan's offer to release Indian pilot.

Pakistan will release the Indian pilot captured after an Indian Air Force plane was shot down in Pakistani territory by tomorrow, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday.

"In our desire of peace, I announce that tomorrow, and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody," Khan said.

India had on Wednesday evening has asked for immediate and safe return of the Indian Air Force pilot in Pakistan's custody.

"It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody. India also expects his immediate and safe return," the Indian ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

Khaleej Times' comprehensive 24-hour coverage brought you the latest news on Thursday's blog. We continue our live updates:

7:50am

 

7:35am  

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday welcomed Pakistan's offer to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured when his MiG-21 went down in Pakistan-occupied territory. 

His Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters: "The report of the release of the Indian pilot by the Pakistani authorities would be very much a welcome step. We would encourage both parties to do whatever they can to de-escalate the situation."

Guterres has been in contact "with both sides at various levels", Dujarric said, while declining to identify the contacts.

Dujarric added that de-escalating tensions "is the message that has been passed on by the United Nations and, I think, by the international community as a whole".

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