March 2, 2019

PAKISTAN: Pakistan Closed Its Airspace In Response To Soaring Tensions With India Forcing Airlines To Cancel And Reroute Flights. Indian Police Arrested 5 For Wearing Shirts With Pakistan Flag.

Deutsche Welle News (DW), Germany
written by Staff, AFP and Reuters
Thursday February 28, 2019

Dozens of flights between Thailand and Europe have been canceled after Pakistan closed its airspace in response to soaring tensions with India, with both states claiming to have shot down each other's jets.

Thai Airways canceled 27 flights on Wednesday and Thursday, mostly to and from Europe, because they had been scheduled to fly over Pakistani airspace. Nearly 5,000 passengers are stranded in Thailand.

"There are 4,000 from European flights and 700 to 800 from flights to Pakistan," a Thai Airways spokesperson said.

Thailand's flagship carrier said it was requesting to fly over other countries' airspace.

Flights to and from London, Munich, Paris, Brussels, Milan, Vienna, Stockholm, Zurich, Copenhagen, Oslo, Frankfurt and Rome were among those affected.

The airline said it had put up passengers in hotels, but some customers were unhappy.

"We have waited here for 11 or 12 hours already," said Gerda Heinzel, a German tourist flying back to Munich. "We have not been given anything to eat, anywhere to stay. There are no German-speaking staff to help us."

Several other airlines have suspended flights to Pakistan and others were forced to reroute around the country's airspace.

Soaring tensions between nuclear-armed states

Pakistan abruptly closed its airspace on Wednesday after it said it shot down two Indian Air Force jets that crossed into its airspace, with one Indian pilot being captured.

India also claimed to have shot down a Pakistani fighter jet, a day after India said it had carried out airstrikes on militant camps in the Pakistan-controlled area of divided Kashmir.

India closed its airspace briefly on Wednesday before resuming commercial flights at all of its airports.

The flare-up between the two nuclear-armed states came following days of skirmishes along the Line of Control separating the Indian- and Pakistan-controlled parts of Kashmir.

Tensions have spiked since at least 40 Indian paramilitary police were killed in a February 14 suicide car bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir. India blamed the attack on Pakistan-based militants, charges Islamabad has denied.
Dawn News, Pakistan
written by Staff
Thursday February 28, 2019

Police in India have arrested five Dhanbad youths for allegedly wearing shirts bearing the Pakistani flag, according to Hindustan Times

Rural superintendent of police Aman Kumar told the publication that the arrests were made after a picture emerged of 11 youths wearing shirts bearing the Pakistani flag.

Five of the 11 have been arrested, whereas the hunt for the other six is under way, another police officials is quoted as saying. The suspects are set to face sedition charges.

Dhanbad is in the state of Jharkhand, India

Hindustan Times, India
written by Subhash Mishra
Thursday February 28, 2019

Police arrested five youths on Wednesday on sedition charges at Baidpur village of Nirsa block, for allegedly wearing shirts bearing the Pakistan national flag,.

Rural superintendent of police Aman Kumar said the situation in the area was under control and five persons out of eleven, who were found in a photo wearing shirts bearing the Pakistan national flag have been arrested.

“Heavy police force has been deployed and situation in the village is in control,” he said.

Nirsa police station officer in-charge Sushma Kumari said that sedition charge has been levelled against 11 youths from the village in Nirsa police station. Five of them have been arrested while the hunt for the remaining six is on.

Violence erupted in the village on Tuesday after a photo of 11 youths wearing shirts bearing the Pakistan national flag went viral on social media.

Many in the block were celebrating Indian air force’s attack on terrorist training centres in Pakistan’s Balakot. A group photo of villagers wearing such shirts triggered irritation among them.

Several people of surrounding villages later surrounded the houses of all the 11 youths and vandalised their houses. Police had to resort to lathi-charge to control the situation.

With the situation tense, Dhanbad deputy commissioner A Dodde, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Kishor Kaushal, rural superintendent of police Aman Kumar SDM Raj Maheswaram reached the village and imposed Section 144 in the area.

Police took main accused Muktar Ansari’s parents and a villager in custody before releasing them at late night. Main Accused Muktar Ansari who allegedly posted the photo, lives in Ranchi.

Though police refused to share details of the five arrested, villagers said that Saddam Ansari, Kalam Azad and Amin Ansari were arrested in Chhenaidih village of Jamtara district on Wednesday morning. Main accused Muktar Ansari surrendered at a police station in Ranchi.

After the alleged attack on the houses of the accused, many male members of a particular community left the village, fearing danger. However they returned in the morning after district administration deployed heavy police in the area.

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