ISLAMABAD: The announcement by Prime Minister Imran Khan to release the captive Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture has widely been welcomed by almost all the political parties, but the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has questioned its timing.
Talking to Dawn News after attending the joint sitting of parliament, PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah said he believed that the decision to release the Indian Air Force pilot should have been delayed a little.
He said as Pakistan had already offered dialogue and declared that it was ready for talks with the help of a number of friendly countries, it would have been better that such a decision was taken during the talks.
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“It would have been better if we have taken this decision by involving some of the countries and through them,” Mr Shah added.
“However, it’s worth the price if India avoids war after it,” he said.
PPP questions timing of PM’s announcement
Commenting on the prime minister’s speech during the joint sitting, the PPP leader said that they did not want to make any criticism on the government at this point of time. He said Pakistan did not want war and only desired peace in the region and there was no other option. He was of the view that India should benefit from this attitude of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, a number of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers and office-bearers praised the prime minister’s speech, saying that Mr Khan had adopted a statesman-like approach.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has shown an extraordinary gesture in international relations that despite no obligation to return a prisoner of war (POW) till armed conflict or hostilities are formally over, he has chosen to adopt a statesman-like approach and decided to repatriate the Indian prisoner,” said Senator Faisal Javed, who is also the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, in a statement.
He said under the international law provided in Article 118 of Third Geneva Convention, obligation on the state to return POW triggered only upon cessation of hostilities. Whereas, he said, despite no legal obligation, the prime minister had taken a bold decision.
Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2019