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Pakistan airspace quandary: Afghanistan exports to India reduce – MENAFN.COM

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(MENAFN – Afghanistan Times) AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The closure of Pakistan’s
airspace to commercial flights between Kabul and New Delhi has decreased
Afghanistan’s exports, including dry fruit, vegetables, fresh fruit, carpets,
and handicrafts, to India by 30 per cent, officials said.

Tolo News confirmed that Afghan farmers and investors will
have to face losses if the airspace remains closed during the vegetable and
fruit harvesting season, after quoting Mir Zaman Popal, an official at the
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).

‘Closure of Pakistan’s airspace to Afghan flights is a
serious matter and we know that the challenges will increase if the situation
prevails,’ Popal was quoted as saying.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace to all commercial
flights late in February after an Indian Air Force carried out aerial
airstrikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot on February 26.

The strikes were in response to the terror attack in
Pulwama, in which about 40 Indian CRPF personnel lost their lives on February
14.

In March, the country partially opened its airspace for all
flights but not for Indian flights.

The airspace was opened to some certain flights but it is
yet to be opened for Afghan flights en route to India.

Afghan airliners are using Iran and China routes for
Kabul-Delhi flights which according to airline companies are expensive and
time-consuming.

Last month, Pakistan said its airspace on its eastern border
with India will remain closed until June 14.

While Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan promised President
Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the 14th summit of the Organisation for
Islamic Cooperation in Saudi Arabia to resolve the airspace problem, but so
far, nothing has happened in this regard.

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor
whereby the airspace restrictions, which have been continuing since a long
time, impacts hundreds of commercial flights each day, extending flight timings
for passengers, as well as fuel costs for airlines.

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