Pakistan refuses a request by Indian President to use Pakistan’s Airspace

Airspace closed

Pakistan has decided to refuse a request by India to allow its president to use Pakistan’s airspace for his flight to Iceland, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced on Saturday.

The decision to refuse Indian request for allowing its President Ram Nath Kovind to use Pakistani airspace, is made by Prime Minister Imran Khan due to India’s continuing oppression of the people in occupied Kashmir, the minister told national media PTV.

Qureshi said New Delhi’s “barbarism” in Jammu and Kashmir was a serious matter which he would rise up with the United Nations Human Rights Council.

He mentioned that 34 days have passed since Modi-led Indian authorities imposed a curfew in the occupied territory before abolishing the region’s special status autonomy.

Pakistan has shown “restraint” in reaction to Indian activities in Kashmir but that New Delhi is refrained from halting its stubbornness.

“In view of this, we have decided to not allow the Indian president to use our airspace” for his flight to Iceland, he told PTV.

The decision came amid, the high spat period between 7 decades-old rival India and Pakistan, exacerbated after India’s BJP-driven government overruled a 7 decades-old rule that gave the power of autonomy to the occupied and disputed Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.

The government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), also passed a bill by overruling Articles 370 and 35A, proposing the Jammu and Kashmir state be split into two union territories fully under the rules and power of New Delhi.

Relevant: Article 370 and 35A – Why they are abolished – Reasons and Background

Following India’s decision to revoke Article 370, Islamabad shut down all diplomatic relations with New Delhi and suspended all bilateral trade.

The government has also been considering closing the entire Pakistani airspace for Indian flights. This would be a second time Pakistan would close its airspace to India flights after Operation Swift Retort. The first airspace restrictions for Indian flights were lifted in July after months of suspension.

India’s Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri recently told parliament that Indian airlines including Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo, and GoAir, lost around $80m because of the closure of Pakistan’s airspace.

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