In wake of the criticism, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is witnessing for his remarks against Army chief of Pakistan General Qamar Javed Bajwa, posters featuring Sadiq with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman came up in parts of Lahore on Saturday.
The posters, which dubbed him as “traitor”, went viral on social media after first being spotted in the constituency of the former National Assembly speaker. In some of the posters, Sadiq’s face was morphed to resemble Varthaman, The Indian Express reported.
On Wednesday, Sadiq said that “legs were shaking and forehead perspiring” at a meeting of Pakistan’s top leaders, including Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, wherein Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi pleaded to release Wing Commander Abhinandan, saying if he was not released, India would attack Pakistan.
“Legs were shaking and forehead perspiring, and the foreign minister (Qureshi) told us, ‘For God’s sake, let him (Abhinandan Varthaman) go back now because India is attacking Pakistan at 9 PM in the night’,” Sadiq had said, recalling the meeting which was also attended by parliamentary leaders, including those from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and PML-N, and added that “India was not planning to attack… They just wanted to kneel before India and send back Abhinandan.
Reacting to Sadiq’s remarks, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said: “there was no pressure on Pakistan at all regarding the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan.”
“The Government of Pakistan took the decision as a gesture of peace, which was appreciated by the international community,” PTI quoted him as saying.
However, Sadiq has accused the Indian media organisations of “distorting” his comments from Pakistan’s National Assembly.
“One thing is clear: Abhinandan did not come to Pakistan to distribute sweets; he had attacked Pakistan,” the PML-N leader said, according to a report by Geo News.
The PML-N leader also criticised the decision made by PM Imran Khan’s government to return the Indian pilot, saying it was “completely wrong”.
“The downing of Abhinandan’s plane was a victory for Pakistan,” he said.
Sadiq also said it was the PTI government — and not the Opposition — that had passed an ordinance to “facilitate” Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Hitting back at the PML-N leader, Qureshi regretted how “responsible people are making irresponsible statements”.
The foreign minister said he had not expected the former NA speaker to say Pakistan let go Abhinandan under pressure and that his comments were “contrary to the truth”.
Responding to Sadiq’s remarks, Pakistan Interior Minister Ejaz Shah said the government was pondering over registering a treason case as the police have received a number of complaints against him, NDTV reported.
He said those conforming to India should better go to Amritsar.
Reports added that a number of posters and banners with pictures of Abhinandan Varthaman and Sadiq were displayed in the constituency of the former National Assembly Speaker. Portraying Sadiq in Abhinandan Varthaman’s getup, the posters read: “Mir Sadiq, Mir Jaffar… Ayaz Sadiq.”
However, PML-N has strongly reacted to the move blaming the Imran Khan PTI government for “awarding traitor certificates” to its political opponents.