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Pakistan may close air space totally to India

August 29, 2019

There are reports that the prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is considering a complete closure of air space to India and blocking its trade route to Afghanistan. This was tweeted by a Pakistan minister. This comes after tension between India and Pakistan has risen once again over the ending of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the state's bifurcation into two union territories. This comes a few weeks after Pakistan announced closure of one corridor forcing international flights, mainly to western destinations, to take a longer route.

After India moved to change the status of Kashmir, Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria from Pakistan and downgraded diplomatic ties with India. India continues to maintain that the decision is an internal matter.

The tweet by Pakistan's Science and Technology Minister Fawad Hussain said,

PM is considering a complete closure of air space to India. A complete ban on the use of Pakistani land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan was also suggested in a cabinet meeting. Legal formalities for these decisions are under consideration. Modi has started, we'll finish. - Fawad Hussain, Science and Technology Minister, Pakistan

Pakistan has also sought the intervention of the United Nations Security Council. At a meeting last week, most members of the council agreed with India that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between the two countries.

This was reiterated at a meeting in France this week at a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump. Trump said all issues between India and Pakistan were bilateral in nature.

Khan is under immense pressure within his own country over the Kashmir issue with the people said to be unhappy over the weak stand taken. In response, Khan said he would continue to raise the issue at every international forum, and called himself the ambassador of all Kashmiris. "First, I believe, the entire nation should stand with the Kashmiri nation. I have said this that I will act as Kashmir's ambassador." Pakistan has also threatened to move the International Court of Justice against India over its decisions in Kashmir.

Pakistan's opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has slammed Khan for his "complete failure" on handling the Kashmir issue. Bilawal, son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto blamed Khan's incompetency for Pakistan "losing Kashmir". "Earlier, Pakistan's policy used to be how to take Srinagar from India. However, now due to the failure of Imran Khan government, the position is how we can save Muzafarabad" said Bilawal.

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