Pakistan’s Foreign Office has denied that it has given formal approval to New Delhi in response to a request to let Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over Pakistani airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan where he has to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14.
“Pakistan has not yet granted permission to let Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace,” FO Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal told a private media outlet.
He was commenting on an Indian media report that Islamabad had, in principle, granted permission to let Modi’s aircraft fly over Pakistani airspace.
The Times of India quoted an unnamed official as saying that the Imran Khan government has approved in principle the Indian government’s request.
“The Indian government will be conveyed about the decision once the procedural formalities are completed. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will also be directed to notify the airmen subsequently,” the Indian news website quoted the official as saying.
The Indian government on Sunday requested Pakistan to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft to fly over Pakistani airspace on June 13.
The requisition, dispatched by the Indian High Commission, outlined that Modi would like to access Pakistan’s airspace while flying to Bishkek.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Indian counterpart are both scheduled to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Kyrgyzstan from June 13 to 14.
However, no meeting has been arranged between the two leaders.
In February, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced the closure of the country’s airspace for commercial flights. The decision was taken after the Pakistani Army downed two Indian military jets that had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region.
Pakistan has extended the ban until June 14.
In a rare exception, Pakistan had allowed Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly over Pakistani airspace while on her way to the SCO meeting.