Islamabad has rejected India’s request to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plane to use Pakistan’s airspace, citing New Delhi’s “human rights violations” in India-controlled Kashmir.
Modi “wanted to use our airspace but we denied permission in the perspective of black day being observed by Kashmiris today to condemn Indian occupation and ongoing grave human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a statement reported on Saturday.
The statement did not disclose Modi’s destination but a senior Pakistani official said the premier had sought to travel to Saudi Arabia.
It is the third time in recent weeks that Islamabad has refused to allow Indian leaders to use its airspace.
Pakistan fully closed its airspace to Indian traffic in February after an Indian Air Force strike on what it claimed was a terrorist training camp in Pakistani’s Balakot region.
The attack was in retaliation for a bombing attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers.
Pakistan fully opened its airspace to all civilian traffic on July 16, ending months of restrictions that had affected major international routes.
The latest decision came amid rising tensions between the two nuclear-armed arch rivals over the disputed Himalayan region.
Pakistan has already suspended its trade with India and stopped the train and bus services in protest at India’s August 5 decision to cancel Kashmir’s special status that was cited in Article 370 of the Indian Constitutional law.
The cancellation of Kashmir’s special status by Modi’s nationalist government placed the Muslim-majority region under New Delhi’s control, promoting protests inside Kashmir and Muslim countries.
Modi claimed Kashmir’s autonomy was the reason for poverty in the resource-rich region.
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