NOTE: Qais Hussain has clarified that he did not ‘apologise’ for what he did. His note was a letter of condolence and an attempt to set the record straight. He has written to Indian Express with this clarification
Front page report in The Indian Express Aug 10, 2011: After 46 yrs, the healing touch: Pak pilot says sorry for mistake (also would have been nice if they’d credited me or Aman ki Asha). Excerpts:
In his condolence email to Singh, Hussain, who was the only pilot in his plane, has explained that he carried out all possible checks, but all indications seemed to suggest that Engineer’s aircraft was an enemy warplane.
“I did not play foul and went by the rules of business but the unfortunate loss of precious lives, no matter how it happens, hurts each human and I am no exception. I feel sorry for you, your family and the other seven families who lost their dearest ones,” Hussain has said.
The pilot, who left service three years after the incident, told The Indian Express that he had decided to write to Singh to get his side of the story across. “I wanted to say that I was not a trigger-happy chap, and this happened in the confusion of war. It is a small gesture from my side to explain things to the family.”
“I was highly elated after I landed following the shooting down of what I thought was an enemy reconnaissance aircraft,” he said. “But in the evening when All India Radio announced the death of all the people, the mood was not as bright. We were all very sorry and dejected.”
Hussain added that there was no possibility of expressing regret at the time because of the hostile atmosphere in the aftermath of the war…
…Hussain told The Indian Express that he would like to write to the families of all those who were killed in the incident to explain that the plane was brought down only because he and his superiors were convinced that they were facing a military aircraft.”