Pakistan to close airspace for India?
"No decision has been taken as yet," says Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal
Pakistan on Thursday said it could order the closure of its airspace for India "at a time of its choosing", but so far no decision has been taken yet. Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal during a media briefing on Thursday said the issue had been discussed at the highest level.
"It is one of the many options that are being considered, we can exercise it at a time of our choosing. No decision has been taken as yet," he was quoted as saying by Dawn. The FO spokesperson's comments come a day after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that no decision has been taken yet to close the airspace to India and any such step would be taken after looking into each and every aspect of the move through consultation.
Qureshi said the issue did come up for discussions during the recent Cabinet meeting but the final decision would be taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He had dismissed reports suggesting that the airspace was being shut for India as "speculative".Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday announced on twitter that the government was considering complete closure of airspace to India and complete ban on use of Pakistan land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan.
Pakistan had fully closed its airspace in February after an Indian Air Force strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. The country opened its airspace for all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on March 27. On May 15, Pakistan extended its airspace ban for flights to India till May 30. It fully opened its airspace for all civilian traffic on July 16.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.
Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner after it downgraded the diplomatic ties with India in protest to India's decision to end Jammu and Kashmir's special status. Pakistan also suspended its trade with India and stopped the train and bus services.
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