19:44 GMT +315 October 2019
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    This handout photograph released by Pakistan's Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on February 27, 2019, shows captured Indian pilot looking on as holding a cup of tea in the custody of Pakistani forces in an undisclosed location

    Pakistan to Release Indian Pilot on Friday as 'Peace Gesture' - Prime Minister

    © AFP 2019 / HANDOUT / ISPR
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    Earlier, India called upon Pakistan to release and return the Indian MiG-21 fighter jet pilot who was arrested by the Pakistan Army after his warplane had been shot down.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the Indian pilot who was captured by Pakistani forces will be released on Friday.

    "As a peace gesture we will be releasing him tomorrow," Khan told parliament in Islamabad on Thursday.

    READ MORE: Pakistani Jets Again Trespass Into Indian Airspace in Kashmir — Reports

    Imran Khan, making the announcement in an address to both houses of Parliament, added that he tried to reach Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday with a message that he wants to de-escalate tension.

    Talking about the incident, he said that he had feared that India could have launched a missile attack, but the situation was later calmed.

    This week, tensions between India and Pakistan escalated as the two countries engaged in an air battle, resulting in the confirmed downing of at least one warplane.

    Pakistan claimed on Wednesday that it had downed two Indian warplanes which entered its airspace over the disputed Kashmir border, and captured an Indian pilot.

    This came a day after Indian jets crossed into Pakistan to bomb a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in the Kashmir region.

    India's air raids in Pakistan came after a deadly terrorist attack when a car carrying over 100 pounds of explosives detonated next to a security convoy, killing 45 Indian paramilitary officers. India named Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group residing in Pakistan, as the person responsible for ordering the attack and accused Pakistan of harboring and protecting terrorists.

    In turn, Pakistan has rejected the allegations of its involvement in the attack.

    Related:

    India Urges Pakistan to Immediately Release Pilot Arrested Over Kashmir Incident
    UN Urges India, Pakistan to De-Escalate Tensions in Disputed Kashmir Region
    Pakistan's Envoy Blames US for 'Emboldening' India Amid Kashmir Escalation
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    pilot, Imran Khan, Jammu and Kashmir, India, Pakistan
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