Just days after reopening its airspace after a gap of almost five months, Pakistan has once again closed three air routes for all international traffic in the Karachi region till August 31. Authorities in Pakistan have said that the route has been closed due to “operational reasons”.
The Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued by Pakistan’s civil aviation authority has mentioned alternate routes that can be used by flights functional in the area.
Sources have told Zee News that the development is not in connection with the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan.
This comes a day after Pakistan’s science and technology minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain tweeted the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led PTI government in the country was considering a “complete closure of air space to India”.
The Pakistan minister further said, “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!”
It must be noted that after Pakistan closed its airspace post Balakot airstrike by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in February, the country suffered major financial losses.
The country warned that the airspace would remain shut unless India withdraws fighter jets from its forward bases. However, the threat was ignored by New Delhi.
Pakistan's aviation minister had previously admitted his country suffered losses worth $50 million because of the shut airspace over 140 days.
While Imran Khan stated in an address to his nation on Monday that Pakistan would go to any extent on the Kashmir issue, he is under tremendous pressure to stabilise the country's economy.
As for shutting land routes through Pakistan for Indo-Afghan trade, New Delhi continues to have a viable option of sending goods through Chabahar Port.