‘Reverse swing’ surprise shows
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement of his government’s intention to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman caught India’s defence ministry by surprise, forcing it to twice tweak the timing and place of a scheduled media conference.
The defence ministry in the morning said the scheduled integrated services briefing will be held in the room 129D on the first floor, South Block, at 5pm. Camerapersons were not allowed and reporters were asked to deposit their mobile phones with the security personnel at the gate. The designated room on the first floor was already packed by 4.30pm.
Around 4.40pm when the announcement from Khan came, the defence spokesperson made an announcement that camerapersons will be allowed inside as well as mobile phones.
As reporters rushed to collect their mobile phones, the spokesperson after 10 minutes announced that the media briefing will be outside, on the lawns of South Block.
Again after 10 minutes, the spokesperson made an announcement to the awaiting media persons that the media briefing was postponed to 7pm.
“The top brass need to update the written press note in the light of Wing Commander Varthaman’s release announcement,” said a defence ministry official.
“It’s a reverse swing from Pakistan’s former fast bowler and now its Prime Minister. We did not expect it so fast,” the official said with a smile.