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Imran Khan considering complete closure of air space to India: Pak minister


Islamabad, Aug 27: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is considering a "complete closure" of airspace to India, Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday. adding that closing Indian trade route to Afghanistan passing through the country was also discussed at a cabinet meeting.

Imran Khan

The remark comes amid tension between India and Pakistan over the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the state's bifurcation.

"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," Pakistan's Science and Technology Minister Fawad Hussain tweeted.

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The BJP government earlier this month had revoked the state's special status and passed a legislation bifurcating it into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

While India has maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal issue, Pakistan has been trying to drum up international support, with Imran Khan ringing up several world leaders. Khan has also promised to raise the issue at every international forum, including at the UN General Assembly.

Pakistan fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation for the Pulwama attack carried out by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit.

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Islamabad suffered a whopping USD 50 million loss after it closed its airspace with India for nearly five months following the Balakot air strikes in February.

While India removed some airspace restrictions later, Pakistan kept the ban in place along its eastern border with India for nearly five months, leading to increased flght time for passengers and huge fuel costs to airlines.

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