Friday, November 12, 2021

Sharjah-Srinagar flights: Foreign minister accuses aviation ministry of bypassing FO

Islamabad: The Ministry of Aviation had bypassed Foreign Office prior to granting the over-flight permission for Sharjah-Srinagar flights, which was later refused upon involvement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This was revealed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while responding to a media query during a joint press conference alongside the OIC's Special Envoy on Jammu and Kashmir, Yousef Aldobeay.

The OIC special envoy is on a six-day visit to Pakistan along with an OIC delegation to visit Kashmir community along the Line of Control (LoC) and prepare a report for the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) to be held in Pakistan in March next year.

"Had the Aviation Ministry taken the opinion of Foreign Office before, which should have been taken, the [over-flight] permission wouldn't have been given. The Aviation Ministry should have taken our point of view...A negligence was committed. When we got to know and we took notice. On our suggestion it [permission] was denied," Qureshi said, adding that Foreign Office had a clear stated position on the disputed status of the Jammu and Kashmir which would remain the same.

Last week, Foreign Office said that Pakistan denied the use of its airspace for Srinagar-Sharjah flight of "Go First", forcing it to take a longer route and fly over Gujarat to reach its destination in the UAE.

The flight, which operates four times a week, did not face any issue when it used Pakistan airspace between October 23 and October 31. However, on November 2, Pakistan refused to give permission for the flight to pass through its airspace on involvement of the Foreign Office.

12/11/21 Ali Hussain/Business Recorder

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