News Analysis |
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, clarified on Wednesday that the country has not taken any formal decision to close Pakistan’s airspace for India. Earlier there were some reports which suggested that Pakistan has decided to close its airspace for India after the latter had committed massive human rights violations in the valley of Kashmir. Political commentators believe that Pakistan may take the decision to give another strong message to the BJP fascist government.
Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority suffered a loss of Rs 8.5 billion, owing to air space restrictions since Feb 2019 Pulwama crisis, according to officials. They estimated India suffered double the financial loss. Now, Pak again weighing closing the airspace. No final decision yet
— Salman Masood (@salmanmasood) August 27, 2019
According to details, the foreign minister rubbished the reports during a visit to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), 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. However, he made it clear that ultimately this is to be decided by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan.
It garnered severe social backlash in Pakistan when many quarters blamed the present government for having a soft corner for the current Indian admiration.
The foreign minister then expressed his concerns that how the current Indian government has destroyed Indian secularism and law and order situation. He said India had damaged the spirit of bilateralism by its unilateral and illegal actions. Pakistan’s FM 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 are facing an acute shortage of medicine and food.
He also explained that 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 Supreme Court had issued notices to the government and it was a test for the apex court, he added.
Pakistan Downgrades Diplomatic Ties with India
It’s worth noting that recently Pakistan has decided to downgrade diplomatic ties with India and suspend bilateral trade, asking India to withdraw its envoy to Pakistan in retaliation against the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir and revocation of its special status. “Pursuant to the decision of the National Security Committee today, Government of India has been told to withdraw its High Commissioner to Pakistan. The Indian Government has also been informed that Pakistan won’t be sending its High Commissioner-designate to India,” the Pakistan foreign office said in a statement made available by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.
The decisions were taken after a meeting of the Pakistan National Security Committee chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The meeting decided to review all bilateral arrangements between the two countries. Besides this, Pakistan said it will raise the issue of India integrating Kashmir more closely with itself at the UN.
Khan’s Government Faces Criticism
A few days ago, Indian Prime Minister Modi visited Paris, France and reportedly used Pakistani airspace. It garnered severe social backlash in Pakistan when many quarters blamed the present government for having a soft corner for the current Indian admiration. “UAE conferred the Indian prime minister with the highest civil award since they knew it that Modi was coming using Pakistan’s airspace. Why should they have opposed India if we have a soft policy and that too for face-saving,” a social media user wrote on Twitter.
Pakistan was not happy over the UAE government’s decision to award Modi who is responsible for the killing of countless innocent Kashmiris. The senate chairman cancelled his scheduled visits to UAE for the same reasons.
As the opposition is putting more pressure on the government and demanding firm policy on Kashmir, experts believe that the government is left with no other option except to close its airspace for India. Pakistan earlier closed airspace for India after it violated Pakistan’s airspace on 26th Feb this year. Political analysts believe that Pakistan has to come up with clearer and stronger policy to seek the attention and support of the international community. Without being able to demonstrate full support for the Kashmir cause, Pakistan may not be able to properly internationalize the dispute and seek justice for innocent Kashmiris.
Experts believe that extraordinary times demand extraordinary decisions. This is the time when Pakistan has to show its consistent, serious and well-thought policy on Kashmir. This is the final stage to be decided whether Kashmiris are fully supported by Pakistan in their struggle to get right to self-determination or not.