Denial of overflight by Pak outside our purview: ICAO

 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Reuters photo

The global civil aviation body on Monday clarified that the issue of denial of overflight rights by Pakistan to an aircraft carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi on an official visit to Saudi Arabia was outside its purview.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation, in a statement, said that its role was limited to helping the government deal with operations of civilian aircraft at that the plane carrying the Prime Minister came under the category of 'state aircraft' which was beyond its purview.

“The Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention), which ICAO helps governments to cooperate under, only applies to the operations of civilian aircraft and not to state or military aircraft,” an ICAO statement said.

“Flights carrying national leaders are considered state aircraft, and are therefore not subject to ICAO provisions,” the statement added.

A Reuters report from Montreal, where ICAO has its headquarters, said that the global civil aviation body had sought more information from Pakistan about its denial of overflight request for an aircraft ferrying Modi to Saudi Arabia.

India has moved the ICAO against Pakistan after Imran Khan’s Government in Islamabad turned down its request for allowing Modi’s special aircraft to fly over the neighbouring country on its way to Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan turned down India's request citing New Delhi's decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of the special status it enjoyed under Article 370. India has asserted that the decisions related to J&K were an internal matter.

In September, Pakistan denied overflight clearance to the prime minister's aircraft during his visit to the US.

Earlier, Pakistan had closed its airspace for all aircraft flying to or from India after escalation of tension in February after the terror attack in Pulwama and the subsequent air strikes by the IAF in Balakot. Pakistan had reopened its skies for all civilian aircraft in July.

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