Did Global Pressure Lead Imran Khan To Announce Pilot's Release?

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Footage appears to show wreckage from a downed Indian jet

"As a gesture of peace we are going to release him to India tomorrow", said Khan Thursday.

FILE - Indian activists carry placards of the leader of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad group, Masood Azhar, during a protest denouncing the attack on the Indian air force base in Pathankot, in Mumbai, India, Jan. 4, 2016.

India's foreign ministry had demanded the "immediate and safe return" of the pilot, calling on Pakistan to ensure no harm comes to him.

One day after Surgical Strike 2, on Wednesday morning, Pakistan Air Force tried to intrude Indian airspace and while Indian Air Force chased them out taking down one of the PAF jets, PAF managed to strike one of the Indian fighter jets and now have the pilot Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in their custody. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan pointed toward the nuclear arsenals both countries maintain as he called for dialogue in a televised speech, The New York Times reported.

India's navy, airforce and army on Thursday accused Pakistan of committing "violations" across the Kashmir line of control and said it is ready to intercept Pakistan with a "swift, strong response when needed".

Tuesday's escalation marked the latest deterioration in relations between the two countries.

Pakistan outlawed the group in 2002 after JeM attacked India's Parliament in December 2001.

"I want to say it to India today: Don't take this any further, Pakistan will be forced to retaliate", Khan said.

Emirates also cancelled 10 return flights to Pakistan while Qatar Airways pulled flights to Peshawar, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Multan.

At least three commercial flights departed from Pakistan on Thursday.

Images then circulated of his capture were both condemned for what appeared to be a physical attack at the hands of residents in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, and praised for the actions of the Pakistani soldiers who intervened to create a barrier.

"Pakistan, being the weaker country, will be on the receiving end".

While no assurance was given by India on how military tensions would be scaled down, officials reiterated that the targets of Indian action are terror camps and training facilities and that it sees its Balakot action as a "non-military" strike.

IIndian Border Security Force personnel (left) and Pakistani Rangers (right) perform while they take part in the Beating Retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan Wagah-Attari border post, about 22 miles from Amritsar, India, January 22.

Earlier, US President Trump said he expected "reasonably decent news" regarding the conflict between India and Pakistan, adding that the US was trying to mediate.

Pakistan's military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said the pilot was being "treated as per norms of military ethics". That year also saw an Indian fighter jet shoot down a Pakistani naval aircraft, killing all 16 on board.

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