Pakistan reopens airspace near border with India

An anti-India protest in Karachi, Pakistan, last Saturday. India and Pakistan are embroiled in the worst military tensions in decades.
An anti-India protest in Karachi, Pakistan, last Saturday. India and Pakistan are embroiled in the worst military tensions in decades.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ISLAMABAD • Pakistan yesterday reopened its airspace over the eastern city of Lahore, near its border with India, signalling that tensions between the two countries may be easing.

Flight operations at Lahore's international airport have resumed after they were suspended last Wednesday, Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said.

The nation had partially opened its airspace last Friday by allowing flights from Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta, but kept operations suspended at airports nearer to India.

India and Pakistan are embroiled in the worst military tensions in decades.

India bombed targets inside Pakistan last Tuesday, saying it hit a terrorist training camp blamed for a Feb 14 attack that killed about 40 of its paramilitary troops.

A clash a day later led to the capture of an Indian Air Force pilot by Pakistan. Islamabad released him last Friday in a bid to defuse the tense situation.

Meanwhile, Washington is "seeking information" on whether Pakistan had used US-built F-16 jets to down an Indian warplane, the US Embassy in Islamabad said yesterday, which may violate the F-16 sale deals between the US and Pakistan.

 
 
 

Pakistan says it did not use F-16s in the incident when it crossed the Line of Control that acts as a de facto border in Kashmir. Islamabad says it was an act of self defence.

"We take all allegations of misuse of defence articles very seriously," a US Embassy spokesman said.

The US often inserts restrictions on how its exported military hardware can be used through so-called end-user agreements.

While tensions may be easing, skirmishes are still occurring.

The cross-border exchange of fire in the past few days has killed seven people on the Pakistani side and four on the Indian side.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2019, with the headline 'Pakistan reopens airspace near border with India'. Print Edition | Subscribe