No decision yet on airspace closure to India: minister –


TAXILA: Federal Minis­ter for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that no decision has yet been taken to close Pakistan’s airspace to India.

Addressing a press conference at the PTI secretariat here on Monday, the minister said: “All options regarding closure of the airspace were pondered over during the last cabinet meeting; however no final decision had been taken so far.”

He said the government had so far not taken any decision to close the eastern airspace to commercial flights from India; however “we have reserved the right to do so and it would be utilised at an appropriate time”.

In reply to a question, the minister ruled out any changes in the cabinet and portfolios of ministers both at federal and provincial levels keeping in view the geostrategic environment.

He criticised double standards and prejudice of the United Nations with Muslims, adding that East Timor and Sudan were divided on an ethic basis, but the case of Kashmir had remained on the back-burner for 72 years which was a big question mark on the UN and the Security Council.

The minister said that the Kashmir issue had now become a humanitarian issue rather than a political matter. “It is the need of the hour that opposition parties should shun political differences and join hands with the government to send a united voice to the world for early resolution of the Kashmir dispute,” he added.

In reply to another question, Sarwar Khan said there was no need to get disappointed over the reaction of the Muslim world to the Kashmir issue.

He said that the PTI government would plead the Kashmir case at all forums, including the UN and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and utilise diplomatic channels to draw attention of the international community to the plight of Kashmiris.

“The prime minister and the foreign minister are making contacts with the heads of states and governments and foreign ministers of different countries on a daily basis to get support on the Kashmir issue.”

The minister said that Defence of Pakistan Day would be observed on Sept 6 in a benefiting manner in the garrison city of Wah as a day of solidarity with the Kashmiri brethren and families of the Wah twin suicide blast victims. He said that different rallies, program­mes and events would be organised to observe the day.

In reply a question, he said the government had decided to observe every Friday as the solidarity day with Kashmiris till the lifting by the Modi government of curfew and blockade of occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Member of the National Assembly Mansoor Hayat Khan and Member of the Punjab Assembly Malik Tamoor Masood Akbar were also present at the press conference.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2019



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