Pakistan extends airspace closure for transit flights
Pakistan extended closure of its airspace for all transit flights till March 11, local media reported.
A state-run Civil Aviation Authority had earlier announced to open the airspace from Saturday, a local TV channel reported, citing the CAA notification.
The East and West-bound flights will have to use alternative routes to operate from and to Europe, North America, however some transit flights between the north and south will be allowed to fly over on some routes of the country’s airspace.
The airspace was completely closed for local and international flights on February 27, following an air combat between Pakistani and Indian air forces.
India again warns Pakistan
India said on Saturday that its army is on a “strict vigil” for new attacks from Pakistan and renewed warnings to its neighbour to take concrete action against militant groups.
An Indian foreign ministry spokesman responded with scepticism to reports of scores of militants being rounded up in Pakistan this week.
“Our armed forces continue to maintain strict vigil and will remain determined in the defence of the nation and its citizens,” he said.
“We have and we will continue to act with responsibility and maturity,” he added.
Friday, March 8
Militant groups ‘will not be’ allowed to operate in Pakistan
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said no militant group would be allowed to operate on Pakistani soil and carry out attacks abroad, days after his government began a crackdown against militant organisations.
“This government will not allow Pakistan’s land to be used for any kind of outside terrorism,” Khan said on Friday while addressing a public rally in southern Pakistan.
“We will not allow any militant group to function in our country now.”
Turn crisis into opportunity – China tells Pakistan, India
China urged India and Pakistan to move on from the recent escalation on the conflict between the two countries, according to media reports.
Talking to reporters in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that New Delhi and Islamabad should “quickly turn the page” and convert the present tensions into “an opportunity for the long term improvement” in their relations, the Indian news agency Press Trust of India reported.
“China hopes Pakistan and India will transform the crisis into opportunity and meet each other halfway,” Wang said.
Thursday, March 7
Riyadh offers to mediate between Pakistan and India
Saudi Arabia has offered its “full cooperation” in defusing escalating tensions between nuclear rivals Pakistan and India.
The offer was made by Saudi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir who arrived in Islamabad on a day-long visit to quell rising tensions between the two South Asian neighbours.
Jubeir, who is visiting Pakistan on the directive of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said a statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.
Qureshi welcomed the crown prince’s rare offer to mediate between Pakistan and India, which follows promised multibillion-dollar Saudi investment in the two countries in recent months.
Pakistan cracks down on militant-run schools
Pakistan has taken control of182 schools and detained more than 100 people as it intensifies its crackdown on banned militant organisations, the interior ministry said on Thursday.
“Law enforcement agencies have taken 121 people under preventive detention as of today,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that religious schools, hospitals and ambulances were taken over.
Pakistan began a crackdown against militant groups this week amid growing international pressure in the wake of a bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir by a militant group based in Pakistan.
Islamabad denies aiding militants and says its push against banned outfits is unrelated to the Indian and global pressure.