Pakistan to India: Here's Our 'Goodwill Gesture'

As closure of Pakistan air space snarls flights across Asia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2019 1:00 AM CST
Updated Feb 28, 2019 6:09 AM CST
Pakistan Conflict Snarls Flights Across Asia
In this image taken from video released by Pakistan's military, showing what they claim to be an Indian pilot who was captured after his plane was shot down by Pakistan's Air Force in the country's part of Kashmir.   (Pakistan military via AP)

Pakistan's prime minister pledged on Thursday his country would release a captured Indian jetfighter pilot the following day, a move that could help defuse the most-serious confrontation in two decades between the nuclear-armed neighbors over the disputed region of Kashmir. Prime Minister Imran Khan made the announcement in an address to both houses of Parliament, saying he tried to reach his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Wednesday with a message that he wants to de-escalate tensions. "We are releasing the Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture tomorrow," Khan told lawmakers. He did not say whether the release was conditional, reports the AP.

There was no immediate reaction from India, though Modi earlier in the day warned that "India's enemies are conspiring to create instability in the country through terror attacks." Meanwhile, a temporary closure of airspace over Pakistan snarled air traffic Thursday, especially between Asia and Europe, though some airlines adjusted by rerouting their flights. In Bangkok, an important and busy hub for transcontinental flights, thousands of travelers were stranded. The terminal was so crowded that the chief of Thailand's immigration police tweeted a warning to "Please spare your time for your trip!" Thai Airways says it has rerouted flights to Europe outside Pakistani air space. Malaysia Airlines also said in a travel advisory on its website that it was avoiding air space over Pakistan and northern India "until further notice," the AP reports.

(More Pakistan stories.)

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