Pakistan refused a request by India to allow President Ram Nath Kovind to use its airspace for his foreign visits to Iceland, Switzerland, and Slovenia, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced on Saturday.
President Ram Nath Kovind will be flying to the European countries from Monday, during which he is expected to brief the top leadership in those countries on India's "national concerns", especially in view of terror incidents this year, including the Pulwama attack perpetrated by Pakistan-based terrorist outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Pertaining to the strained relationship between Pakistan and India, the Prime Minister of the former country, Imran Khan approved the decision to restrict President's passage, Qureshi told Pakistani media.
Pakistan fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force fighter jets struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot following the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. However, in March, it partially opened its airspace but kept its ban for the Indian flights.
Aviation Secretary Nusrat, who is also the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), on Thursday informed the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation that his department has intimated Indian officials that Pakistani airspace would remain unavailable for use by India until the country withdraws its fighter jets from forward positions, Dawn News reported.
Pakistan Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry took to Twitter on August 27 to announce that Pakistan PM Imran Khan is considering a complete closure of its airspace to India, following the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. Fawad Hussian also claimed that Imran Khan is considering a complete ban on the use of Pakistan land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan. He added that the legal formalities for the same are under consideration.
Despite Pakistan opening up its airspace for PM Modi to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit on June 21, Prime Minister refused to fly over Pakistan's airspace while Kyrgyz capital Bishkek. The Prime Minister flew over Oman, Iran, and several Central Asian countries to reach Bishkek.
(With PTI inputs)