Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistanis on Feb 28 after his MiG-21 crashed in Pakistani territory, walked his way to freedom on Friday (March 1) night. While the entire country was celebrating the braveheart’s return, one family across the border in Pakistan was mourning.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pilot Wing Commander Shahzaz-ud-Din, who was flying the F-16 fighter jet, did return to his country after breaching the Indian airspace but couldn’t survive for long.
During the aerial combat between India and Pakistan on February 27, IAF’s MiG 21 Bison shot down the PAF’s F-16, Shahzaz-ud-Din was flying, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. At the same time, the Pakistan forces shot down India’s MiG 21.
Both the aircraft – India’s MiG 21 Bison and Pakistan’s F-16 – crashed on the Pakistani territory at two different places. Both the pilots successfully bailed out of their crashed aircraft.
Both Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and Wing Commander Shahzaz-ud-Din fought for their countries but while India’s Abhinandan was captured alive by the Pakisatn Army, Pakistan’s Shahzaz-ud-Din was lynched by the locals assuming him to be an Indian, according to several media reports.
The irony of the situation is that even the Pakistan forces did not make any effort to get an identity check of the pilot. In fact, Pakistan has been maintaining that its Army did not use an F-16 in action with the Indian Army and none of their personnel were injured.
The Pakistani armed forces had earlier claimed that they have two Indian pilots in their custody. A few hours later, the number came down to one.
With these facts given to the world, Pakistan let Shahzaz-ud-Din’s identity and bravery to go down the void of oblivion.