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Wed 28 Aug 2019 11:01 AM

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Pakistan may close airspace to India again, says minister

Neither the Indian government nor any of the agencies dealing with the aviation or trade sectors in India have reacted yet to the Pakistan minister's threat

Pakistan may close airspace to India again, says minister
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is considering a complete closure of airspace to India and blocking Indian land trade to Afghanistan via Pakistan, acording to the country's Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain.

In a post on on Twitter, Hussain revealed, "PM is considering a complete closure of Air Space to India, a complete ban on use of Pakistan land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan was also suggested in cabinet meeting. Legal formalities for these decisions are under consideration.”

Neither the Indian government nor any of the agencies dealing with the aviation or trade sectors in India have reacted yet to the Pakistan minister’s threat,  which is certain to re-escalate the high voltage spat between the two hostile neighbouring countries, weeks after Indian government revoked the special status for Jammu & Kashmir.

Pakistan Prime Minister is also said to have informed his Cabinet about his decision to raise the Kashmir issue in the world, including at the UN General Assembly next month, adding that he had become the voice of the Kashmiri people, Times of India reported quoting Imran Khan’s spcial assistant on information, Firdous Ashiq Awan.

Addressing the nation on Monday, Imran Khan said a 30-minute event will be held every week in Pakistan to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people. The ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ will be held every Friday, Khan informed his Cabinet.

Closure

Pakistan closed its airspace on February 26 after Indian fighter jets struck an alleged terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation for an attack on paramilitary soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama.

The airspace was re-opened for civilian flights on July 16.

Air India, the country's flag carrier, operates around 50 flights daily through Pakistani airspace.

Aviation industry analysts said in the event of closure of Pakistani airspace to India, Indian carriers will have to take a detour to fly to Middle East, Europe and the US, resulting in extra flying time of 60 to 120 minutes and additional operational costs.