Disturbed by its international isolation since the removal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has now unleashed cheap propaganda by way of making a doll of IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman and projecting him as a prisoner of war (PoW) in the War Museum of the Pakistani Air Force in Karachi. This, in the face of the fact that the IAF pilot’s vintage MiG 21 Bison had shot down a state-of-the-art F-16 of Pakistan before his old fighter plane was shot down, forcing him to land on the other side of the LoC. This, despite the fact that Pakistan could not keep Abhinandan Varthaman captive for more than 48 hours and had to return him to India.
Pakistani journalist and political commentator Anwar Lodhi has shared a picture of the mannequin kept in the Pakistani Air Force Museum on Twitter.
Anwar Lodhi tweeted, “PAF has put mannequin of Abhi Nandhan (sic) on display in the museum. This would be a more interesting display, if it they (sic) can arrange a Cup of FANTASTIC tea in his hand.”
Pakistan’s cheap act has drawn severe criticism on social media. Many Indian users of the medium have reminded Pakistan it had surrendered 93,000 of its soldiers to India at the end of the 1971 war.
The picture of the mannequin of Abhinandan indicates the Pakistani Air Force has kept it in a glass showcase. A cup is placed to the right of the doll and behind him is a Pakistani soldier standing on the left. Abhinandan’s jacket and cargo pants are shown hanging behind the effigy.
Earlier in February, Pakistan Army had released a video of Abhinandan when he was in their custody. In the video, Abhinandan was shown drinking tea and answering questions of some Pakistan Army personnel. The answers of Abhinandan were so dodgy, they had created a laugh riot in India.
Following the Pulwama terror attack in February, the IAF had penetrated Balakot in Pakistan and carried out an airstrike, bombing the bases of terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed. Pakistan retaliated with an unsuccessful air raid, where the IAF planes did not allow the PAF fighter planes to reach the Army headquarters in Jammu and Kashmir.
Wing Commander Abhinandan’s plane MiG-21 crashed during these dogfights and fell into PoK. He was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army. However, Pakistan had to bow under pressure from India and return him in two days. Abhinandan is now back as a regular fighter pilot in the IAF after a thorough debriefing, which is a protocol for released PoWs before their re-induction.