“Aesi chai ki dushman ko bhi dost banaye”- Pakistan tea seller uses Abhinandan Varthaman’s photo on his stall

abhinandan pak tea stall

                Wing Commander Abhinandan Becomes a Hero

                  The Indian Hero has landed on his motherland!

Within a day after the hero’s arrival, he became a trend. His moustache was followed by every Indian while trollers could not stop them making fun of Pakistan by making memes! A very popular picture of Abhinandan having a cup of tea in Pakistan was circulated on Internet and millions of people commented “The Most Expensive Cup of Tea!”

One such incident has been noticed in Pakistan too! Khan tea stall printed a posture with the same pic of Abhinandan with a rhetorical tag line “Aisi Chai Jo Dushman Ko bhi Dost Banaye (Such a tea that makes even an enemy a friend) The tea seller actually got wonderful marketing skills!

The Indian Air Force Pilot: – Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman fought like a superman and took down one of the F-16’s in his MIG-21 and saved our country. The situation was tense, everybody could smell a war between the two rivals: – India and Pakistan post Pulwama. A strong message from PM Modi “This is new India, it will enter your boundaries and retaliate!” The Air Strikes that killed more than 250 terrorists shook the neighbours. It was then on February 27 when Pakistan launched F-16, without any prior permission from America from whom they bought those, and decided to act against India. After fighting and shooting the F-16, Abhinandan’s plane too was hit and he landed in Pakistan. The Pak Officials captured him and tortured him to their best. Commander was forced to tell the operational details but he uttered only one sentence: – “Sorry, I am not supposed to tell you this”

The nation broke into tears and every citizen unanimously shouted “Bring back the commander” The Pakistan Imran Khan in the parliament said “We are releasing the commander Abhinandan as a gesture of peace!” and all the politicians supported this move.

Was it really a gesture of peace?

Actually, No! Wing Commander Abhinandan was released under the provisions of Article 3 of Geneva Conventions. A strict action could be taken against Pakistan and sources say that India was ready wit their Navy and Air force if Abhinandan was harmed.

What are the Geneva Conventions?

Although they were adopted in 1949, to take account of the experiences of the Second World War, the four Geneva Conventions – with three protocols added on since 1977 – continue to apply to armed conflicts today. In total, 196 countries have signed and ratified them over the years.

Convention I requires that all wounded and infirm soldiers, as well as medical personnel and chaplains in the field, are treated humanely without discrimination on the basis of race, colour, gender, religion or faith, and the like. It prohibits acts such as torture, mutilation, outrages upon personal dignity, and execution without judgment. It also grants them the right to proper medical treatment and care. The Second Convention extends the protections described above to shipwrecked soldiers and other naval forces, including special protections afforded to hospital ships. Geneva Convention III, as already mentioned, is relative to the treatment of Prisoners of War (PoWs) while the last Convention focuses on the protection of civilians in times of war.

These treaties have come into play for all recent international armed conflicts, including the war in Afghanistan, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the 2008 War in Georgia and the Russian invasion of Chechnya (1994-present).

What are the rights of a PoW?

According to Article 13 in the Third Geneva Convention, PoWs must be “humanely treated” at all times. “Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention,” it states, adding that PoW have to be protected against insults and public curiosity as well as acts of violence or intimidation. In this context, Pakistan may have violated the treaties when the military spokesperson tweeted an image of the captured IAF pilot. The Geneva Conventions also strictly bar airing pictures of captured prisoners on television.

In one of the videos of Varthaman being interrogated post his capture, he alludes to the Geneva Convention when he only discloses his service number and identifies himself as a Hindu. “I’m sorry sir…that’s all I’m supposed to tell you,” he calmly tells his interrogators when pressed for more details. “Every prisoner of war, when questioned on the subject, is bound to give only his surname, first names and rank, date of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number, or failing this, equivalent information,” states Article 17 of Convention III. “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever.”

Apart from mandating adequate medical attention for PoWs and allowing them correspondence with their families, the Conventions also list out conditions for their internment – like hygienic surroundings where they are not exposed to the fire of the combat zone. “Prisoners’ representatives shall be permitted to visit premises where prisoners of war are detained, and every prisoner of war shall have the right to consult freely his prisoners’ representative,” adds Article 81.

How did the Geneva Conventions help in ensuring that the pilot returns home?

As per Article 118 of Convention III, PoWs “shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities”. Furthermore, even if the countries at conflict are not able to reach an agreement toward cessation of hostilities, “each of the Detaining Powers shall itself establish and execute without delay a plan of repatriation in conformity with the principle laid down (above)”.

In June 1999, Flight Lieutenant Kambampati Nachiketa, the only PoW during the Kargil War was repatriated home after the Indian authorities rejected Pakistan’s idea if a public handover at their foreign office by citing the Geneva Conventions.

Thus, we all hope that the two nations maintain peace and no loss of lives occurs on either end.

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