Broadcaster advertisements for matches between India and Pakistan have always bordered on the xenophobic, but the latest advert released in Pakistan to build up hype for the World Cup clash between the two neighbours on June 16 has stooped to a new low.
Mimicking the video released of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman by Pakistani military after he was captured a day after the Balakot airstrike, the ad by Pakistan's Jazz TV shows a model made to look like the IAF officer with his trademark mustache in a Blue Jersey answering questions on camera.
The lookalike, used as a prop, repeats Abhinandan’s viral statement “I’m sorry, I am not supposed to tell you this” in the ad several times as he is asked questions related to India’s playing XI and the team’s strategy if it wins the toss.
He also sips tea from a cup as the scene serves as a reminder of the intense questioning and severe beatings the Wing Commander was subjected to in captivity.
While the Wing Commander was stoic and calm in the video released by the Pakistani military, he is shown frightened and jumpy in the World Cup ad.
Jazz TV advt on #CWC19 takes the Indo-Pak air duel to new level. It uses the air duel over Nowshera and Wing Co Abhinandan Varthaman's issue as a prop. @IAF_MCC @thetribunechd @SpokespersonMoD @DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/30v4H6MOpU— Ajay Banerjee (@ajaynewsman) June 11, 2019
Apart from bring in bad taste and mocking the sensitive issue of diplomatic tensions that had arose between the countries over the capture, the ad also has racist overtones as it shows Abhinandan’s face blackened to show his dark complexion.
Abhinandan had repelled all attempts by Pakistani interrogators, who tried to extract crucial information on Indian troop deployment, sensitive logistics and high-security radio frequencies after capturing him, according to the debriefing report after his return to India.
He was captured on February 27 as he averted Pakistani F16 jets' intrusion into the Indian air space as they tried to target Indian military installations in the Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and had remained in Pakistani military’s custody for 60 hours. He was eventually released as a “goodwill gesture" by the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.