Pakistan, on Wednesday, declined New Delhi’s request to allow Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use Pakistan’s airspace for his flight to Germany.
Relations between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors have rapidly deteriorated after India’s unilateral decision of revoking the special constitutional status of the disputed Himalayan territory and imposing an unprecedented lockdown.
Pakistan Denies Airspace Access
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, “We received a request from India, seeking access to Pakistani airspace for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight on 20th September, and again, on 28th September, on his way back to India.”
Narendra Modi is expected to land in Germany on September 20th and would return to India on 28th September, after attending the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York.
The Foreign Minister said, “In light of the ongoing situation and the brutalities committed by the Modi-led government in Indian occupied Kashmir, Pakistan has decided to decline New Delhi’s request and deny the Indian Prime Minister the permission to use Pakistan’s airspace.” He said that Islamabad had conveyed its decision to the Indian High Commission in Pakistan.
Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors escalated after 5th August, when the Modi-led government abolished the partial-autonomy of the disputed Himalayan territory.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will conduct a brief visit of Germany, and later, he is expected to address the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly, scheduled for 27th September. Prime Minister Imran Khan will also address the UNGA session in New York on the same day.
The Premier has also called upon PTI leaders and overseas Pakistanis and Kashmiris to welcome the Indian Prime Minister with a mammoth protest in solidarity with the Kashmiri struggle for freedom.
Analysts believe that the upcoming UNGA session will witness a major clash between Imran Khan and Narendra Modi over the Kashmir issue. Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed that he would use his address to highlight the Kashmiri struggle for freedom, and expose the true face of Indian brutalities before the international community.
Imran Khan and Narendra Modi are also scheduled to hold separate meetings with the US President Donald Trump, who offered to play the role of a mediator on multiple occasions.
After the aerial dogfight in February, which resulted in the capture of Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, tensions between the two countries refused to die down. Pakistan closed its airspace to Indian traffic, resulting in months of inconvenience and restrictions that impacted several foreign routes. Recently in July, the skies of Pakistan were opened to receive civilian traffic.
Aggressive Posturing Continues
On Tuesday, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar angered politicians and people across Pakistan with his provocative statement that India would “one day exert physical jurisdiction” to make Azad Jammu and Kashmir a territory of India.
Pakistan condemned Jaishankar’s remarks as “inflammatory and irresponsible” and warned that India’s provocative statements are an attempt to divert attention from the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Kashmir.
The Foreign Office said in this regard, “We strongly condemn and reject the inflammatory and irresponsible remarks made by the Indian External Affairs Minister regarding Pakistan and AJK. These remarks are an obvious manifestation of India’s utter frustration over the continued international censure of its egregious human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”
Pakistan called upon the international community to “take serious cognizance” of New Delhi’s aggressive posturing about taking “physical jurisdiction” of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The statement issued by MoFA stated that India has deployed over a million military and security personnel to “incarcerate” more than 8 million Kashmiris in the world’s largest prison. Condemning India’s state terrorism, the statement said, “India continues to unashamedly justify the violation of Kashmiris’ human rights.”
“India today is also a unique and deplorable case of a state which promotes hate crimes against minorities and consistently fails to bring to account those who indulge in cow vigilantism, mob lynching and forced conversions and are guilty of violating India’s own laws.”
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 18, 2019
Pakistan called upon the international community to “take serious cognizance” of New Delhi’s aggressive posturing about taking “physical jurisdiction” of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. MoFA stated, “Coming from an occupying state, such irresponsible and belligerent statements have the potential to further escalate tensions and seriously jeopardize peace and security in the region. Pakistan stands for peace, but would be ready to respond effectively to any act of aggression.”
The press statement concluded, “Instead of resorting to jingoistic rhetoric, India must rescind its illegal actions, stop forthwith grave human rights violations in IoJ&K, refrain from violating international law, and fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions for a final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.”
Earlier this month, Pakistan had denied Indian President Ram Nath Kovind the permission to use Pakistan’s airspace due to New Delhi’s violent behavior in occupied Kashmir. Pakistan has countered New Delhi’s unilateral move with a diplomatic offensive, engaging multiple international forums, including the UN Security Council.
Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors escalated after 5th August, when the Modi-led government abolished the partial-autonomy of the disputed Himalayan territory. For over forty-five days, Indian-occupied Kashmir has been under a brutal security lockdown and curfew, and innocent Kashmiri civilians have been denied access to communication tools, internet, and basic healthcare facilities.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, on numerous occasions, targeting the Hindutva-extremist ideologies of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and equating Modi with Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.