Pakistan said it will release Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Friday afternoon via the Wagah border near Amritsar, ANI reported. “The Indian pilot will be released this afternoon via Wagah,” said Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday had announced that Islamabad will release Varthaman as a peace gesture after tensions between both countries recently escalated. Welcoming Pakistan’s decision, the United Nations urged both countries to “de-escalate tensions”.

Varthaman, who was flying a MiG-21 fighter jet, was captured on Wednesday after his aircraft went down in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, during a dogfight between Indian and Pakistani aircraft.

Pakistan’s move to violate Indian airspace using F-16 aircraft was a response to the Indian Air Force’s strike in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on February 26, with the intention of destroying terror camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammad group. On Thursday evening, senior officers of the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy said Pakistani jets had tried to bomb Indian military installations in Kashmir, a claim denied by Islamabad.

Before Khan’s announcement about Varthaman’s release, Qureshi had said Islamabad would be willing to consider returning the pilot if it led to de-escalation of tensions at the border.