'Won't open air space till you withdraw fighter jets'
Islamabad: Pakistan has told India that it will not open its airspace for commercial flights until New Delhi removes its fighter jets from forward IAF airbases, Pakistan's Aviation Secretary Shah rukh Nusrat has informed a parliamentary committee.
Pakistan fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot following the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir.
Aviation Secretary Nusrat, who is also the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), on Thursday informed the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation that his department has intimated Indian officials that Pakistani airspace would remain unavailable for use by India until the country withdraws its fighter jets from forward positions, Dawn News reported.
"The Indian government approached asking us to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward," Nusrat told the committee. He further apprised the committee that Indian officials have contacted Pakistan requesting it to lift the airspace restrictions.
"However, Indian officials have been told that Indian airbases are still laden with fighter jets and Pakistan will not allow the resumption of flight operations from India until their removal, said Nusrat.
After the restrictions, all the passenger flights are being diverted to alternative routes by India, The Express Tribune reported.