No decision yet on airspace closure to India: FM

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made it clear on Wednesday that no decision had yet been taken to close Pakistan’s airspace to India.

Read: Full airspace closure for India, ban on land routes for Indo-Afghan trade under consideration

Talking to reporters during a visit to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), he dismissed as speculative reports suggesting that the airspace was being shut for India. “A decision to this effect will be taken after due consideration and looking into each and every aspect of the move through consultation,” he said. Prime Minister Imran Khan would have the final word, the foreign minister added.

Referring to the human rights crisis in occupied Kashmir, he said India had damaged the spirit of bilateralism by its unilateral and illegal actions. He regretted that curfew in India-held Kashmir had entered its 23rd day, saying it was a matter of life and death for the Kashmiris who were facing acute shortage of life-saving drugs and food.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi says such a decision will be taken after due consideration

Mr Qureshi said the people were not free to offer even Friday prayers. He said a large number of people working for held Kashmir police were Muslim and they were averse to cooperate. He said reports had been received about clashes between police and paramilitary forces in occupied Kashmir and it was in this background that a decision had been taken to disarm police there.

He said 14 petitions had been filed in the Supreme Court of India challenging illegal action of the Modi government to revoke Articles 370 and 35-A of the constitution guaranteeing special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The foreign minister said the Supreme Court had issued notices to the government and it was a test for the apex court.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2019