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Sidhu welcomes announcement to release IAF pilot, bats for dialogue


IANS Chandigarh
Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's announcement regarding the release of captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Varthaman Abhinandan and argued strongly for a dialogue between both the countries to ensure lasting peace in the region.
"Every noble act makes a way for itself... your goodwill gesture is 'a cup of joy' for a billion people, a nation rejoices...I am overjoyed for his parents and loved ones," Sidhu tweeted on Thursday.
Khan on Thursday announced that the captured IAF pilot will be freed on Friday as a "goodwill gesture" after New Delhi sought his unconditional, immediate and unharmed release. The 35-year-old Wing Commander was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday after his MiG was shot down and fell in Pakistani territory during an aerial dogfight.
Earlier, in an open demi-official letter headlined "We have a Choice," Sidhu called for a dialogue between both the countries to defeat terror and find a solution in peace.
"I stand by my country. I am the son of a freedom fighter, and the true test of my patriotism is courage. I stand against the fear that keeps many of us silent. I stand by my deeply held principle that a community cannot be blamed for the actions of a few," Sidhu wrote.
"A sentiment our Prime Minister echoed, when he said 'Our fight is against terrorism and enemies of humanity. Our fight is for Kashmir, not against Kashmiris.' A sentiment our External Affairs Minister shared when she said, 'Our fight is not with Pakistan, our fight is with the terror establishment.'
"I stand by my conviction that dialogue and diplomatic pressure will count for a great deal in seeking a long-term solution to the presence and practice of terror outfits that operate within and across the border. The solution to terror is peace, development and progress. Not unemployment, hatred and fear," he wrote.

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First Published: Feb 28 2019 | 8:58 PM IST

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