Pakistan airspace closed for commercial flights

Pakistani airspace will remain closed until Thursday midnight amid security threats after Pakistan and neighboring India exchanged claims of shooting down each other’s fighter aircraft.

The airports in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sialkot, Islamabad, and Karachi cities are closed for commercial flights, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Wednesday, declaring a nationwide aerial emergency.

All airports will be closed for departure and arrival of commercial flights until the further orders are released, a notification of CAA reads. All airports were informed to keep the runways closed and air lines have been informed regarding the aerial emergency in the country.

Though Pakistani airspace was partially restored on Wednesday night, starting with international airport in southern Karachi city, commercial airlines either remain grounded in Pakistan or are staying away until more clarity emerges.

Some international flights from long routes that entered the Pakistani air space before the closure were given special permission to land in Karachi.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Pakistan Railways, Sheikh Rasheed also declared an emergency on Pakistan Railways to meet the traveling needs. The closure of the air space came after Pakistan Air Force (PAF) claimed earlier today that they shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace in retaliation to India’s Line of Control (LoC) violation.

Pakistan military also claimed that one of the aircraft fell inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and released a video of the arrested Indian pilot. Heavy shelling and cross border firing is being reported across the LoC that forced the civil population to evacuate the area.

Several emergency relief camps were set up for civil population along Sialkot Working Border and Mirpur city of Pakistan administered Kashmir due to border tensions.