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Iran Press TV

Pakistan's Khan considering closing airspace to India: Official

Iran Press TV

Tue Aug 27, 2019 05:36PM

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is considering a complete closure of airspace to India and blocking Indian land trade to Afghanistan via Pakistan, a senior government official says.

In a posting on Twitter on Tuesday, Pakistani Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said, "PM is considering a complete closure of Air Space to India, a complete ban on use of Pakistan Land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan was also suggested in cabinet meeting, legal formalities for these decisions are under consideration ... #Modi has started we'll finish!"

Khan warned in a speech on Monday that the issue of Kashmir could lead to a nuclear war between Islamabad and New Delhi if the international community failed to intervene.

The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped the special status of its portion of Kashmir on August 5. New Delhi claimed that the decision was necessary for the economic development of Kashmir and it would help fight "terrorism."

In the wake of the move, Pakistan expelled the Indian ambassador, halted bilateral trade, and suspended cross-border transport services.

On August 6, Khan said in an address to the parliament that he was weighing taking the matter to international forums and organizations.

The 15-member UN Security Council held a closed-door meeting on the matter at the request of China and Pakistan on August 16.

After the decision on the special status, New Delhi dispatched thousands of additional troops to the Himalayan region, declared a strict curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet services, and arrested political leaders and pro-independence campaigners.

India's behavior has drawn criticism from the people of Kashmir and Pakistan as well as human rights groups and the UN.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has already urged all parties to exercise restraint in Kashmir.

In recent days, India and Pakistan have exchanged heavy fire across the militarized de facto border in the disputed Kashmir valley.

Indo-Pakistani relations nosedived in February, when over 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed in a bomb attack in Kashmir. New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based militants, but Islamabad denied any involvement.

Pakistan closed its airspace for four months after the February attack.

Kashmir is divided between India, which rules the populous Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-dominated region around Jammu city, and Pakistan, which controls a piece of territory in the west.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the territory.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them to cross the restive frontier. Pakistan strongly denies the allegation.

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