ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Sunday said it has denied India’s request to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s VVIP flight to use its airspace for his upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, citing the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a statement, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan has decided not to allow Prime Minister Modi to use the country’s airspace, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
He said the decision has been taken in context of the black day and in view of the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, it added.
Pakistan is observing black day on Sunday in support of Kashmiris.
Qureshi said the Indian High Commissioner is being informed of this decision in written form.
Modi will travel to Saudi Arabia on Monday where he will attend an international business forum and hold talks with top Saudi leadership.
In September, Pakistan rejected India’s request to allow Prime Minister Modi’s flight to use its airspace for his visit to the US to attend the UN General Assembly.
Pakistan also refused India’s request to allow President Ram Nath Kovind to use its airspace for his flight to Iceland in the same month.
Pakistan fully closed its airspace in February after an Indian Air Force strike in Balakot. The country opened its airspace for all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on March 27.
On May 15, Pakistan extended its airspace ban for flights to India till May 30. It fully opened its airspace for all civilian traffic on July 16.
In June, Pakistan “specially” opened its airspace for the flight of Prime Minister Modi to Bishkek to attend the SCO summit. However, India decided not to use the Pakistani airspace for the VVIP aircraft.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories, evoking strong reaction from Pakistan.
India takes up Pak’s denial of airspace use to PM’s aircraft with intl body
India has taken up Pakistan’s denial of use of its airspace to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, government sources said on Monday.
Sources said India regrets Pakistan’s decision to yet again deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country.
India has taken up the issue of denial of overflight clearance with the relevant international civil aviation body, they said.
“Overflight clearances are sought, and granted by other countries as per prescribed ICAO guidelines,” said a source.
India will continue to seek such overflight clearances, sources said.