India’s Modi flies through Pakistan airspace en route to Paris

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is seen exiting his plane, Air India One, at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France, on August 22, 2019. (Courtesy Indian PM office)
Updated 24 August 2019
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India’s Modi flies through Pakistan airspace en route to Paris

  • Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors are at an all time low over disputed Kashmir region
  • In February Pakistan’s closed its airspace because of clashes with India but reopened it in July for all traffic

ISLAMABAD: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plane flew through Pakistani airspace en route to a Group of Seven summit in France, Pakistan’s foreign office said on Saturday, at a time when relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors are at their worst in decades over the disputed Kashmir region.
On August 5, the Indian government revoked the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir under which people from the rest of India could not buy property or compete for government jobs and college places in the Muslim-majority region.
Modi’s surprise move increased tensions with arch rival Pakistan which lays claim to Kashmir and has accused India of human rights violations in the territory at the heart of more than 70 years of hostility between the two countries.




A map shows the route that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Air India One plane took en route to Paris on Thursday, August 22, 2019. Pakistan has confirmed the Indian PM flew through Pakistan's airspace on his way to France. (Courtesy: RadarBox 

Foreign office spokesman Dr. Mohammad Faisal confirmed to Arab News that the plane carrying Modi to France had passed through Pakistani airspace but said this was a “normal, routine process.”
Pakistan closed its airspace this February after a suicide attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-administered Kashmir led to aerial bombing missions on each other’s soil and a fighter dogfight over Kashmir. As a result, commercial and cargo airlines using Indian airspace were forced to take costly and time-consuming detours because they could not fly over Pakistan. 
Airspace was reopened in July, a welcome break for international airlines given that Pakistan lies on an important aviation corridor and Indian operators were particularly badly affected by the shutdown. 
In June, during the blockade, Modi avoided flying over Pakistan during an official trip to Central Asia even though Pakistan has granted overflight access.
“This is a routine matter, they often use it [Pakistani airspace], we also use it [Indian airspace],” Faisal said about Modi’s plane flying through Pakistani airspace on Thursday. “There are ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization] regulations under which it is mandatory to give them overflight clearance as long as airspace is open.”
“If airspace is closed due to some reason, if there is a war-type situation, then there are special circumstances in which you can stop it,” Faisal said. “Right now, neither they can stop us, nor we can stop them. This is a normal routine process.”


UAE citizens in Pakistan cast votes as balloting begins for Federal National Council

Updated 22 September 2019
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UAE citizens in Pakistan cast votes as balloting begins for Federal National Council

  • More than 200 UAE citizens in Pakistan are expected to cast their vote
  • Half of the council this year is expected to be women: UAE envoy

ISLAMABAD: The UAE envoy to Pakistan was the first to cast his vote on Sunday at the UAE embassy, as balloting began for the country’s citizens residing or working abroad to elect a political candidate to represent them in the Federal National Council (FNC), a parliamentary body for the seven emirates that make up the UAE.
According to UAE officials, more than 200 of the country’s citizens live in Pakistan including over 60 residing in the capital, Islamabad.
“This is the fourth election for the Federal (National) Council in UAE, and we are really proud of this democracy process in UAE,” Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi, UAE Ambassador to Pakistan said while speaking to Arab News during the balloting session at the embassy in Islamabad.
The UAE has more than 118 diplomatic missions around the world which have set up polling booths for citizens to cast their votes, Al-Zaabi said.
“The (polling for the FNC) election in Pakistan will be held in Islamabad and at the consulate in Karachi on September 22 and 23. The big election in UAE will be held between October 2 to 4, followed by results... announced on October 5,” the UAE Ambassador said.
FNC, as per the provision of the UAE Constitution, was established in 1971 and comprises of 40 members representing the Arab peninsula’s seven Emirates; with Abu Dhabi and Dubai having the most number of seats followed by Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, and less populated Fujairah, Ajman, and Umm al Quwain with the least.
In the past, all members were appointed by the emirates’ respective rulers, but in 2006 the method was revised to introduce a partial form of democracy that allows the people of UAE to elect 20 FNC members through an electoral process.
“We started in 2006 and now we are in 2019 and this year it is totally different because half of this council will be women. UAE and its leadership support women empowerment and encourages females to be part of the country’s legislative decisions,” Al-Zaabi said.
The Ambassador, widely known for his philanthropic activities in Pakistan and his continued efforts to strengthen fraternal ties between the two countries said: “We have reached our goals to support democracy and encourage the people in UAE to be part of this democratic process.”