Pakistan considering various options to counter India’s move in Kashmir – FM Qureshi

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, right, said he knows the implications that come with him making such statements. (AFP/File)
Updated 10 August 2019

Pakistan considering various options to counter India’s move in Kashmir – FM Qureshi

  • China says it will fully support Pakistan as Islamabad prepares to take Kashmir issue to United Nations
  • Qureshi asks Pakistanis to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir while celebrating independence day

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday that his government was considering various options to respond to India’s blatant violation of international law after the administration in New Delhi decided to annex the internationally recognized disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir last Monday.
Qureshi was addressing a news conference in Islamabad after completing from his two-day visit to Beijing where he briefed the Chinese authorities on New Delhi’s attempt to change the demographic structure of Indian-administered Kashmir and sought diplomatic support from his country’s closest international ally.
China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, agreed to support Pakistan as Islamabad prepares to raise the Kashmir issue in the United Nations. Beijing also directed its representative in New York to maintain a close liaison with Pakistani diplomats on the issue.
Observing the deteriorating security situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, Qureshi said that Pakistan’s government was “considering other options” to tackle India’s breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 on Kashmir.
Fearing bloodshed as protests by the people of Kashmir begin to gain momentum, the foreign minister said, “We anticipate a rise in tensions as things seem to be moving toward further escalation.”
He continued that Pakistan was not mulling a military response to the situation, though he also added that “we reserve the right to defend our country in case of any [Indian] misadventure.”
India’s recent move in Kashmir threatened regional peace and strained its already fragile relation with Pakistan. In response, Islamabad decided to expel the Indian high commissioner. It also suspended trade with its eastern neighbor and stopped the train service between the two countries.
The foreign minister expressed grave concern over the security lockdown in Indian-administered Kashmir and highlighted the resulting rights abuses in that territory. He also maintained that India’s “reckless approach” could lead to “false flag operations” in the area since it wanted to blame Pakistan for committing acts of “terrorism.”
Qureshi asked the people of Pakistan to raise the Kashmir flag along with their country’s national colors while celebrating the independence day to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Indian-administered Kashmir.


EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

Updated 01 July 2020

EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

  • The step has been taken due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards
  • PIA expects the ‘earliest possible’ lifting of suspension after action by the government and the airline

ISLAMABAD: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorization to fly to the bloc for six months, the airline said on Tuesday, in a major blow to the country’s flag carrier.
Separately, the safety agency said it took the action due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards at all times.
The suspension follows Pakistan’s grounding of 262 of the country’s 860 pilots — including 141 of PIA’s 434 — whose licenses the aviation minister termed “dubious.”
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months effective July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal,” PIA said in a statement. It added it would temporarily discontinue all its flights to Europe.
Confirming the move in an emailed statement, the EASA referred to a recent investigation by Pakistan which it said showed a “large share” of pilot licenses to be invalid.
Pakistan’s grounding of the pilots followed a preliminary report on a PIA crash in Karachi that killed 97 people last month.
PIA said it is in contact with the EASA to take corrective measures and appeal against the decision, adding that it expected the “earliest possible” lifting of the suspension after action by the government and the airline.
The EASA also suspended the authorization of another Pakistani airline, Vision Air International.
Vision Air International did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Following the EASA’s decision, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said it, too, was withdrawing PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports, as required under law.
“PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect,” a spokesman for the UK authority told Reuters.
The three were major flying destinations for the airline.
Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots and their union, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), say there are discrepancies in the government’s list of pilots with licenses deemed dubious and are demanding a judicial investigation.
PIA and private airline Air Blue have also queried the list with PIA saying 36 of its pilots mentioned had either retired or left the airline, while Air Blue said it no longer employed seven of nine pilots on the list.
“It contains names of highly educated and qualified pilots who have passed all the tests,” PALPA’s president, Chaudhry Salman, told Reuters. “We want a fair and impartial resolution to this matter.”
An official at Pakistan’s aviation ministry, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, said they did not have full details of the discrepancies. “The issue is being sorted out in consultation with airlines and civil aviation authorities.”