ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday rejected India’s request to allow its airspace to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his flight to Saudi Arabia today amid tension between the nuclear armed neighbours.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Modi had not been allowed to use Pakistan’s airspace due to the massive human rights violations in Kashmir. “Pakistan has decided not to allow Prime Minister Modi to use the country’s airspace,” the FM said in a statement. Qureshi said the decision has been taken in context of the ‘Black Day’ and in view of the alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the Indian High Commissioner was informed of this decision in written form.

Modi will travel to Saudi Arabia today (October 28) where he will attend an international business forum and hold talks with top Saudi leadership.

Last month, Pakistan had rejected India’s request to allow Prime Minister Modi’s flight to use its airspace for his visit to the US to attend the UN General Assembly.

Pakistan also refused India’s request to allow President Ram Nath Kovind to use its airspace for his flight to Iceland in the same month.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace in February after an Indian Air Force strike on an alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot. The country opened its airspace for all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on March 27. On May 15, Pakistan extended its airspace ban for flights to India till May 30. It fully opened its airspace for all civilian traffic on July 16.

In June, Pakistan specially opened its airspace for the flight of Prime Minister Modi to Bishkek to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. However, India decided not to use the Pakistani airspace for the VVIP aircraft.

Tensions between Pakistan and India spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories, evoking strong reaction from Pakistan. India has defiantly told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an “internal matter.”

In a separate message on ‘Black Day,’ FM Qureshi said: “On this day 72 long years ago, Indian forces landed in Srinagar to occupy and oppress the innocent people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir in a clear violation of international law and norms. On 5th August, the same India has endeavored to rob the people of Kashmir of their last semblance of independence and autonomy by indulging in a shambolic, illegal fraudulence and by accepting to lead to a demographic change in Kashmir.”

For almost three months now, he said, the Kashmiris had been prisoners in their own homes, aliens in their own land and unwelcome on their own roads.

“The whole Kashmir has been turned with a de-facto prison. Despite Indian spin doctors best attempts, the world has taken notice. India has been called out, criticized and castigated by friend and foe alike. The entire international media has come forth and called out India’s shame democracy and bogus egalitarianism in unison,” he said.

Qureshi said India should realize it cannot fool the world forever and that its tried and trite accusations of terrorism, while simultaneously being the principle perpetrator of it, have little import with the international community.

“In-spite of the horrendous Indian atrocities and apathy on behalf of a large part of the international community, the brave people of Indian occupied Kashmir have demonstrated exemplary resilience and grit in the face of Indian aggression,” he said.

The FM assured that Pakistan not only commemorated Kashmiris’ exemplary grit and spirit on the occasion of the Kashmir Black Day but “we also reiterate our firm and continued political, moral and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir in their grand struggle until they achieve their legitimate right of self-determination as per the United Nations Security Council resolutions.”