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

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

Published 27 August 2019
Opinion

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on Feb. 26 and reopened it on July 16, after almost five months of a military standoff with India.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is considering a complete closure of airspace to India and blocking Indian land trade to Afghanistan through his country, according to Pakistan’s Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Hussain.

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"PM is considering a complete closure of Air Space to India, a complete ban on the use of Pakistan land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan was also suggested in the cabinet meeting, legal formalities for these decisions are under consideration,” the minister tweeted Tuesday.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on Feb. 26 and reopened it on July 16, after almost five months of a military standoff with India. The restrictions forced long detours that cost airlines millions of dollars.

Air India, the country's flag carrier, operates around 50 flights daily through Pakistani airspace. These are flights to the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.

“Modi has started we’ll finish!” Hussain added in the tweet. 

The minister’s statement came a day after the Khan said that he will take the Kashmir issue to every international forum, including at the U.N. General Assembly next month.

On Aug. 20, Pakistan informed it would also raise its dispute with India over Kashmir to the International Court of Justice. 

The case would center on alleged human rights violations by India in the Muslim-majority region, which both countries claim in full but rule in part, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told ARY News TV.

Tensions over Kashmir continue to mount between the two nations, as Pakistan downgraded diplomatic relations and suspended bilateral trade with neighbor India after its government scrapped Indian Occupied Kashmir’s Special status on Aug. 5. 

During Khan’s official visit to the U.S., U.S. President Donald Trump offered to be a “mediator” over the matter. Pakistan was open to the idea, yet India rejected it saying the issue was an "internal matter." 

Far-right Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France on Monday categorically rejected a third party involvement in the matter.

Meanwhile, thousands of students rallied in Muzaffarabad the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir to denounce India's downgrading of the special status of the portion of the disputed region it controls and the current human rights violations denounced from within India-occupied Kashmir. 

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