ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਉਮਰ 35 ਸਾਲ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਧ ਹੈ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨੇ ਇਹ ਖ਼ਬਰ ਸੁਣੀ
ਜਾਂ ਪੜ੍ਹੀ ਤਾਂ ਹੋਵੇਗੀ ਪਰ ਯਕੀਨਨ ਉਹ ਭੁੱਲ ਗਏ ਹੋਣਗੇ ਕਿ ਅੱਜ ਤੋਂ ਵੀਹ ਸਾਲ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
ਵੀ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਨੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਹੱਦ ਦੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਡਿੱਗੇ ਇੱਕ ਜਹਾਜ਼ ਦਾ ਪਾਇਲਟ ਭਾਰਤ ਨੂੰ
ਵਾਪਸ ਕੀਤਾ ਸੀ ।
ਇਹ ਵਾਕਿਆ ਜੂਨ 3, 1999 ਹੈ ਜਦੋਂ
ਨਵਾਜ਼ ਸ਼ਰੀਫ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਸੀ । ਕਮਾਲ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਇਹ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਵੀਹ
ਸਾਲ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਵੀ ਜਦੋਂ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਪਾਇਲਟ ਨੂੰ ਛੱਡਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਨਵਾਜ ਸ਼ਰੀਫ ਨੇ ਹੂਬਹੂ ਇਮਰਾਨ
ਖਾਨ ਵਾਲੇ ਲਫ਼ਜ਼ ਹੀ ਵਰਤੇ ਸਨ ਤੇ ਕਿਹਾ ਸੀ ਕਿ ਇਹ ਅਮਨ ਵੱਲ ਇੱਕ ਕਦਮ ਹੈ ।
"ਦਾ ਹਿੰਦੂ " ਵਿੱਚ ਪੱਤਰਕਾਰ ਅਮਿਤ ਬਰੁਹ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਛਪੀ
ਇਸ ਖਬਰ ਨੂੰ ਵੇਖੀਏ ਤਾਂ ਉਦੋਂ ਵੀ ਇਸ ਗੱਲ ਦੇ ਕਿਆਫ਼ੇ ਲਾਏ ਗਏ ਕਿ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਪਾਇਲਟ ਨੂੰ
ਅਮਰੀਕਾ ਦੇ ਦਬਾਅ ਥੱਲੇ ਛੱਡਿਆ ਗਿਆ । ਪਰ ਉਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ ਕਿਸੇ ਸਿਆਸੀ ਬੰਦੇ
ਜਾਂ ਖਬਰੀਏ ਨੇ ਇਹ ਪੱਟਾਂ ਤੇ ਥਾਪੀਆਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਮਾਰੀਆਂ ਸਨ ਕਿ ਅਸੀਂ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦੀ ਧੌਣ
'ਤੇ ਗੋਡਾ ਦੇ ਕੇ ਆਪਣਾ ਪਾਇਲਟ ਛੁਡਾਇਆ ਏ ।
ISLAMABAD (JUNE 3, 1999), MARCH
02, 2019 12:31 IST
02, 2019 15:38 IST
This was originally published in
The Hindu on June 3, 1999
When freedom was granted to captured pilot K.
Flight Lieutenant K. Nachiketa, the Indian Air Force
pilot in Pakistani custody, was handed over by the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the Indian High Commissioner, Mr.
G. Parthasarathy, inside the premises of the High Commission around 11
p.m. 1ST tonight. Earlier, Pakistani authorities handed over the IAF
pilot to the ICRC at the Foreign Office here.
Two white Land Cruiser vehicles of the ICRC rolled into the High
Commission and out of one came the young Indian pilot. He was presented
with roses by some High Commission officials. Fit. Lt. Nachiketa said,
"I am fine sir" when Mr. Parthasarthy inquired about him. The pilot was
accompanied by several ICRC delegates, including Mr. Paul Bonnard, the
head of the ICRC delegation in Pakistan.
It was intended to be a public relations coup for the Pakistanis, but it
turned out to be a damp squib. Soon after the Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz
Sharif, announced that Flt. Lt. Nachiketa, whose MiG-27 aircraft came
down in Pakistan-held territory on May 27, would be released the
Information Minister, Mr. Mushahid Hussain, said the pilot would be
handed over to the Indian High Commissioner at the Foreign Office at
7:30 p.m. (IST).
Nearly 100 media personnel, both foreign and local, camped inside the
Foreign Office in the hope of seeing the "handing over" ceremony.
However, the Indian High Commissioner made it clear to the Pakistani
Foreign Office that he would not take over the custody of Flt. Lt.
Nachiketa in the full glare of the media. It was also conveyed that
India would not agree to any lowering of the dignity of an IAF officer.
Since the Prime Minister had already announced that he would be released
this evening, the Foreign Office got in touch with the ICRC as the next
best option. The ICRC then took time over its procedures, which included
a medical examination of the IAF pilot. Also, there was some paper work
Nearly three hours after being brought to the Foreign Office, the ICRC
took custody of Flt. Lt. Nachiketa. The ICRC allowed photographs to be
taken, but the Flt. Lt. did not talk to the press persons assembled
Mr. Paul Bonnard made a statement to the effect that the ICRC was taking
over the custody of the pilot, who was in good health. No
question-answer session with the press was permitted by the ICRC
'No U.S. pressure'
In a brief question-answer session with the press after reading out a
prepared statement, Mr. Sharif denied that he was subjected to any
pressure by the United States to free the pilot. "I don't take any
pressure," the Prime Minister maintained. He also stated that the
release of the pilot, a "goodwill ges- ture", was not a precondition for
the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, to visit New Delhi.
Indian High Commission sources said the pilot will have to stay in
Pakistan for at least one more day. An "exit certificate" will have to
be received from Pakistani authorities and his passport will also have
to be made for his return home.
"He is not returning to India tomorrow, and the earliest he can go back
is day after tomorrow," the sources said.
India tonight expressed delight over the release of Flt. Lt. Nachiketa.
"The whole country will be absolutely delighted to have him back," an
External Affairs Ministry spokesman said in New Delhi.
In Adampur, Flt. Lt. Nachiketa's father, Mr. K.R.K. Shastry, told press
persons: "You have given us the greatest piece of news. I am the
happiest father in the world". He, however, added that he would like his
son to complete the mission he had been entrusted with in the Kargil