Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is considering a complete closure of air space to India, a federal Minister said amid growing tensions between the two countries following New Delhi’s decision to end Kashmir’s special status. “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... #Modi has started we will finish!” Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry tweeted on Tuesday.
Chaudhry later said that Prime Minister Khan agreed to the suggestion, which was taken up at the Cabinet meeting. “The Prime Minister has asked the Civil Aviation Authority and the Foreign Office to sort out legal issues regarding this. He said that some legal complications led to the reopening of the airspace earlier,” Chaudhry said. Chaudhry added that Pakistan cannot remain elusive to what is going on in Kashmir. “This is yet another step to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir.”
After India revoked the Article 370 that had ensured Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad and cut off trade ties with India. Pakistan had shut its airspace following the Balakot air strike in February and reopened it after nearly five months in mid-July.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority’s website, Pakistan “suffered a loss of Rs 8.5 billion, owing to air space restrictions since February 2019 in the wake of aftermaths of Indian transgress”.