Pakistan has declined the request to open its airspace for Indian commercial flights and demanded that New Delhi first removes its military jets from the Pakistani-Indian border, Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat, who is also the director general of the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA), said on Friday.
“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 said, as quoted by the Dawn newspaper.
Pakistan fully closed its airspace for India on 27 February. The decision was initially triggered by a deadly attack on an Indian security convoy in Kashmir on 14 February that resulted in over 40 deaths. The attack was later claimed by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. Tensions escalated as India accused Pakistan of being behind the attack and supporting the terrorists, whose leader is based in Pakistan. Islamabad has rejected all allegations.
Earlier on Friday, heavy fighting took place between Indian and Pakistani forces along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. No casualties were reported so far. The Indian Army has blamed Pakistan for violating the ceasefire agreement.
Kashmir is a region that has been disputed by India and Pakistan since 1947, when both countries gained independence from British rule. India and Pakistan have gone through three wars over the region but never managed to establish peace.