Pakistan airspace fully reopened: aviation authority

Passengers gather outside the Jinnah International Airport on March 1, 2019 as they wait for flight operations to resume. (AFP)
Updated 04 March 2019
0

Pakistan airspace fully reopened: aviation authority

  • The decision to close the airspace came last Wednesday after a rare aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan
  • ‘All airports across Pakistan are operational and airspace reopened’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan fully reopened its airspace on Monday, authorities said, days after it closed its skies to all air travel, leaving thousands stranded worldwide as tensions with nuclear arch-rival India soared.
The decision to close the airspace came last Wednesday after a rare aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir ignited fears of an all-out conflict, with world powers rushing to urge restraint.
Both sides claimed to have shot each other’s warplanes down, and one Indian pilot was captured. He was returned to India Friday, crossing the Wagah border on foot.
“All airports across Pakistan are operational and airspace reopened,” a spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Authority said Monday, adding the process had been completed by 1:00P.M.
The closure disrupted major routes between Europe and South Asia, with mounting frustration from passengers stranded at international airports.
It also delayed attempts to search for a British and an Italian climber who went missing on Nanga Parbat, Pakistan’s “killer mountain” and the ninth highest peak in the world, as rescue teams were forced to wait for permission to send up a helicopter.
The climbers, Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard, were last heard from on February 24. Fresh rescue attempts had to be called off over the weekend due to bad weather amid growing fears for their survival.
Pakistan began reopening its airspace “gradually” from Friday, with flights allowed in and out of major cities.
But the backlog means major delays are still expected and authorities have urged passengers to check for more information with their airlines.


London climate protesters seek talks with government

Updated 24 min ago
0

London climate protesters seek talks with government

  • Some 831 arrests have been made and 42 people charged in connection with the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests

LONDON: Climate change protesters who have brought parts of London to a standstill said Sunday they were prepared to call a halt if the British government will discuss their demands.
Some 831 arrests have been made and 42 people charged in connection with the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests.
On the seventh day of demonstrations that have occupied key spots in the British capital, organizers said they were willing to switch tactics from disruption to dialogue.
“We are prepared to pause, should the government come to the negotiating table,” Extinction Rebellion spokesman James Fox told AFP.
“What the pause looks like is us stopping an escalation.
“We can discuss leaving if they are willing to discuss our demands.
“At the moment, we haven’t received a response from the government... so we’re waiting on that.”
Extinction Rebellion was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world’s fastest-growing environmental movements.
Campaigners want governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new “citizens’ assemblies on climate and ecological justice.
“We’re giving them an opportunity now to come and speak to us,” Fox told AFP.
“If they don’t take that opportunity, and if they refuse to come and negotiate with us, then this is going to continue and this is going to escalate in different, diverse and very creative ways.”
Police said they had managed to clear the Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus junctions of protesters, who remain in place on Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square.
“We remain in frequent contact with the organizers to ensure that the serious disruption to Londoners is brought to a close as soon as possible and that only lawful and peaceful protests continue,” the police said in a statement.
Calling for an end to the protests, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said more than 9,000 police officers had been responding to the demonstrations, which had left the force as a whole overstretched.
“This is now taking a real toll on our city — our communities, businesses and police. This is counter-productive to the cause and our city,” he said.
“I’m extremely concerned about the impact the protests are having on our ability to tackle issues like violent crime if they continue any longer. It simply isn’t right to put Londoners’ safety at risk.
“You must now let London return to business as usual.”
In the blazing sunshine on Waterloo Bridge, police lifted protesters and carried them off to waiting police vans.
“I’m genuinely terrified. I think about it all the time. I’m so scared for the world. I feel like there is going to be calamity in my lifetime,” student Amber Gray told AFP.
“I don’t even feel comfortable bringing children into this world knowing that that is coming.
“And I don’t want people in the future to say to me, ‘why didn’t you do anything?’“
Retiree Kathy Hayman said politicians were “ignoring and denying.”
“I’m amazed really at the lack of consciousness that they have and the lack of responsibility.”