Imran Khan is considering a complete closure of airspace to India, says a Pakistani minister
A complete ban on use of Pakistan land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan is also suggested in Khan’s cabinet meeting
NEW DELHI :
After expelling the Indian high Commisioner to Islamabad and cutting off trade links with India, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was considering a complete closure of airspace to India, a minister said in a Twitter post on Tuesday. This comes as tensions are running high after India abrogated a provision in its constitution that provided special status to Kashmir.
"PM is considering a complete closure of Airspace 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'll finish," Pakistan's Science and Technology Minister Fawad Hussain tweeted.
Pakistan had earlier closed its airspace for some six months after India conducted an air raid on Balakot in Pakistan, after a suicide bomber killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers in Pulwama in February. Islamabad had later opened two of 11 routes for international carriers. The curbs had, however, meant that airlines had to take a longer route to reach their destinations and burn more fuel besides stop midway for refuelling. An increase in fuel expenses, which constitutes 40% of an airline’s operational costs, resulted in an increase in fares and in some cases cancellation of flights, leaving passengers with fewer options to choose from, news reports had then said. The air space curbs were finally lifted last month.