The Hush Post| 10.08 am |two-minute-read|
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman walked back home on 1 March. However, an Air Force family in Pakistan, is in mourning, blacked out from the public view.
Pakistan Air Force Wing Commander Shahaz-ud-Din, the F-16 pilot was shot down in a dogfight over the Nowshera sector in Laam Valley of Pakistan. He was reportedly lynched to immobility by a mob. The Pakistani mob mistook him for an Indian pilot.
A Firstpost report says the following about the two airmen: “Both men, in one of those strange twists history revels in, come from illustrious military families: Wing Commander Varthaman’s father, S Varthaman, as Air Marshal; Shahaz-ud-Din’s father, Waseem-ud-Din, is also an Air Marshal of the Pakistan Air Force, who has flown F-16 and Mirages.”
Truth of the Pakistani F16 Pilot Wing Commander Shahzad Ud Din of No 19 Squadron who was lynched by people in Nowshera (Pakistan), after his aircraft was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan, thinking he is an Indian National. Written by Khalid Umar. https://t.co/SETj5hmVhO pic.twitter.com/2dGUxqXSBf
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) March 1, 2019
The two men engaged each other in the dogfight; one was taken a Prisoner of War, while the other was killed by his own.
The news that Shahaz-ud-Din’s plane was shot down was first reported by an individual based in London — lawyer Khalid Umar. According to Firstpost, Umar received the news privately, from individuals related to the F-16 pilot’s close family.
Umar’s account says that Shahaz-ud-Din parachuted out of his aircraft safely. However, he was then attacked by a mob after the F-16 crash-landed — possibly in the Laam valley, stretching out westward from Naushehra into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Shahaz-ud-Din, Umar has claimed, was hospitalised, but succumbed to his injuries.
The PAF Wing Commander flew for the 19 Squadron, also known as the ‘Sher-Dils’, who served with distinction in the war of 1965 and 1971.
Pakistani military spokesperson Major-General Asif Ghafoor had asserted, on the morning of 28 February, that two Indian jets had been shot down and two Indian pilots injured — one of whom was in army custody, and the other in the hospital.
This other pilot is the Pakistani pilot who later succumbed to his injuries.
The same evening, Major-General Ghafoor stated that only one Indian pilot was in Pakistan Army custody. However, he did not say anything about the other pilot.
As per the Firstpost: “It’s extremely improbable the Pakistan Army just made up the second plane and pilot,” an Indian military source says. “The more likely explanation is that troops were unable to identify the destroyed aircraft or the battered, broken body to be their own. There was probably miscommunication up the chain of command.”
A New Indian Express report also endorses the same. According to journalist Aditya Raj Kaul, the pilot of the crashed PAF F-16 was Wing Commander Shahzaz-ud-Din of the No 19 Squadron (sherdils). Russian TV channel RT news also quoted another journalist Ajay Jandyal confirming that the pilot was Shahzaz.