An advertisement released by a Pakistan’s Jazz TV to build up hype for the World Cup clash between arch-rivals Team India and Pakistan national cricket team ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019 clash has taken the Indo-Pak air duel to a new level. In the 33-second propaganda video, the lesser known channel features a dummy of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to mock India.

The person in the advertisement sports Abhinandan’s trademark handlebar moustache and wears a blue Jersey (Team India’s kit) instead of an airman’s flight suit while facing questions on camera. On being questioned about India’s playing XI and the team’s strategy if it wins the toss, the actor repeats Abhinandan’s statement “I’m sorry, I am not supposed to tell you this” in the ad several times. While Abhinandan was calm in the video released by the Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations (DGISPR) of the Pakistani Army, the actor is shown frightened in the World Cup ad. Traditional rivals India and Pakistan are all set to lock horns at 3 pm on June 19 at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, UK.

On February 27, Pakistani security forces had captured Abhinandan Vardaman after his MiG 21 Bison was hit by an air-to-air missile after the Wing Commander chased and shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16 jet that had intruded into Indian territory tried to target military installations in the Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir. Varthaman remained in Pakistani military’s custody for 60 hours before being released by the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Tensions, in the form of cross-border infiltration and ceasefire violation, are taking place between the two neighbours on a regular basis since the 14 February suicide attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama district. More than 40 CRPF jawans lost their lives after an explosive-laden vehicle rammed into their convoy at Lethpora in the Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir.

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