Will last from August 28 to August 31
Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority has closed three routes for all international Karachi-bound flights and proposed three alternative routes. A notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued by the aviation authority on Wednesday notified the changes. It said that all Karachi-bound flights will have to abide by the modifications from August 28 to August 31. The decision comes a day after Federal Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the prime minister was considering a “complete closure” of airspace to India. “A complete ban on the use of Pakistan’s land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan was suggested in the cabinet meeting,” the minister tweeted on Tuesday. This isn’t the first time Pakistan has closed its airspace this year. A complete closure was put in place after Indian fighter jets violated Pakistani airspace on February 26. Airspace was completely opened on July 16, five months after the tensions grew in February. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used Pakistan’s airspace to travel to France on August 22. He was given permission to use Pakistani airspace because there was no ban in place, the cabinet was told on Tuesday. On February 27, Pakistani jets had downed two Indian planes over Kashmir and arrested Indian wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The wing commander was released after a few days as a gesture of peace. Pakistan had opened its airspace for Indian flights in July. Indian airlines suffered a loss of millions due to the temporary closure. The latest tensions between the two countries started August 5 after India ended the autonomous status of Indian-held Kashmir. In his address to the nation on August 26, Prime Minister Imran Khan had termed the BJP government’s move to revoke Kashmir’s special status as a “historical blunder.” The premier had said that Pakistan had received information that India was planning to stage a “false flag operation” in Kashmir to justify a possible attack on Pakistan. “Our army had prepared itself after we received the information,” PM Khan said. He urged the world to intervene to ease tensions between the two countries, saying that India and Pakistan both have nuclear weapons. “No country will win this [war],” he added. During the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, PM Khan also objected to the use of Pakistan’s airspace by PM Modi.