Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that his country has not taken any decision on closing its airspace to India, PTI reported. He added that any such measure would be taken only after “due consideration and looking into each and every aspect through consultation”.
Dismissing reports that he claimed were merely speculation over the closure of airspace, Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan would take the final call on this matter, according to Dawn.
Qureshi remarks came after the country’s Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that the government was considering completely closing the airspace to India. He had also claimed that the country’s Cabinet was looking at the “legal formalities” for a ban on land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan.
In February, Pakistan had completely closed its airspace after the Indian Air Force strike on an alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed militant camp in Balakot. It later opened its airspace for all flights excepting for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur in March.
Qureshi also alleged that India had destroyed the spirit of bilateralism with its “unilateral and illegal actions”, according to Dawn. He also lamented that restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir had entered its 23rd day, saying that it was a matter of life and death for Kashmiris.
The foreign minister claimed that people were not free to offer Friday prayers and spoke about reports of clashes between the public and security personnel.
Pakistan Army to hold ‘Kashmir Hour’ on Friday
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army on Wednesday said that it would observe ‘Kashmir Hour’ at 12 pm on Friday. Army Spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor made the declaration after the Pakistani prime minister, in his address to the nation, had said that an event would be held every week to show solidarity with the Kashmiris.
Ghafoor said that sirens would also be blasted in the first protest on Friday and asked people to take part in it. Soon after the announcement, Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi said that he was ready to join in the protest.
“Let’s respond to PM call for Kashmir Hour as a nation. I will be at Mazar e Quaid at 12 pm on Friday,” Afridi tweeted. “Join me to express solidarity with our Kashmiri brethren. On 6 September, I will visit home of a Shaheed. I will soon be visiting LOC [Line of Control].”
Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after the former’s decision to revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended bilateral trade with India. Since then, the country has raised the Kashmir dispute at the United Nations Security Council and has said that it would take it up at the UN Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice as well.
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