Imran Khan ready to talk peace to Modi: Pakistan FM

Imran Khan ready to talk peace to Modi: Pakistan FM
Imran Khan ready to talk peace to Modi: Pakistan FM

The foreign minister said that Pakistan is prepared to release the Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation.

Indian and Pakistani troops traded fire briefly along the contested border in Kashmir on Thursday morning, a day after the two nuclear powers both downed enemy jets, with Pakistan capturing an Indian pilot.

The United States, China and other world powers have urged restraint from the two nations as tensions escalate following tit-for-tat airstrikes in the wake of a suicide car bombing that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Feb. 14.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from British colonial rule in 1947, two over Kashmir, and went to the brink of a fourth in 2002 after a Pakistani militant attack on India's parliament.

Pakistan has shut its airspace, forcing commercial airlines to reroute. Thai Airways International announced on Thursday that it had cancelled flights to Pakistan and Europe, which left thousands of passengers stranded in Bangkok.


Khaleej Times' comprehensive 24-hour coverage brought you the latest news on Wednesday's blog. We continue our live updates:


3.30pm

 

3.00pm

Pakistan will release the Indian pilot captured after an Indian Air Force plane was shot down in Pakistani territory by tomorrow, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday.

"In our desire of peace, I announce that tomorrow, and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody," Khan said.

1.50pm

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to talk to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi over telephone "to extend an invitation of peace", Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

Qureshi also said that Pakistan was willing to consider returning an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot it is holding since Wednesday if it leads to de-escalation of tensions between the two countries, reports IANS.

1.40pm

Pakistan is prepared to release a captured Indian pilot if doing so will ease soaring tensions with India that have fuelled fears of conflict between the neighbours, its foreign ministry said.

"We are ready to hand over the Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation," the Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman told AFP, attributing the statement to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

1.20pm

Pakistan International Airlines today announced that flights to the UAE and Saudi Arabia are being resumed on a priority basis.

PK-731 will take off from Karachi to Jeddah at 6pm, PK-747 will leave Karachi for Jeddah at 6pm, Dubai-bound PK-213 will leave Karachi at 10pm and PK-245 towards Dammam will fly out at 11pm. More details

12.50

Saudi foreign minister to visit Islamabad today with an important message from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi quoted Dawn News.

12.10pm

The Indian Navy will also be a part of the joint press conference.

11.55am

11.40am

Trump says hopefully India, Pakistan conflict coming to an end US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he hoped the conflict between India and Pakistan will be coming to an end, according to a Reuters report.

Speaking at a news conference in Vietnam after a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said he had some "reasonably decent" news from India and Pakistan. He did not elaborate.

11.30am

It is necessary to ensure that nothing is done to dent the morale of the security forces, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, a day after Pakistani fighter jets violated Indian air space in response to Indian forces targeting a JeM terror camp in its territory.

Modi also said India will fight, live, work and win as one and nobody can create hurdles in its march towards development.

11.18am

India is grateful to all those who are protecting the nation, said PM Modi.

11.17am

Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi addresses nation amid India-Pakistan tensions

11.10am

Australia asks India, Pak to 'exercise restraint'

Australia has once again urged India and Pakistan to "exercise restraint" and avoid further military action, saying the cycle of escalation is "very dangerous" for all.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, who was in London on Wednesday, said that she was very concerned about the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.

"I was hearing very serious reports about an escalation of the conflict between Pakistan and India. I am very concerned about those. "If those reports are correct, we would certainly urge both sides to exercise restraint and to avoid further military action... this is a dangerous cycle of escalation," she said.

11.00am

Closure of Pakistan air space snarls flights across Asia

A temporary closure of air space 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. Bangkok airport officials said over 4,000 travelers were affected. Those needing help were getting access to accommodations and alternative travel arrangements, they said, though some of those stranded complained they were getting no help at all.

A United flight from Newark, New Jersey, to New Delhi was rerouted through London and later canceled, and Air Canada canceled flights from Toronto and Vancouver to the Indian capital. Air China canceled its flight Thursday from Beijing to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. According to an employee of the airline's publicity office in Beijing, the status of other flights would be decided later.

10.30am

International Cricket Council assures India of security during World Cup According to sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), at the ICC meeting, Board's CEO Rahul Johri had raised concerns about security at the World Cup, scheduled to be held in England and Wales.

10.16am

Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) react on Karnataka BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa's statement that "India's preemptive strikes on terror camps in Pakistan has created a wave in favour of the prime minister".

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has clarified that Pakistani airspace will continue to remain closed for commercial aviation until Thursday midnight .

 

 

 

9.32am

In the face of serious cross-border tension between India and Pakistan, Russia, in a statement released, has offered to mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad.

"We are ready to further assist in strengthening the counter-terrorism potential of New Delhi and Islamabad," read the statement.

"We are extremely concerned about the news coming in. We are very closely monitoring the situation and, of course, we urge all parties to show restraint," said a Kremlin spokesman.

9.30am

Thousands of holidaymakers were stranded in Bangkok on Thursday after Thai Airways cancelled all flights over Pakistan after Islamabad suddenly closed its airspace in response to soaring tensions with India.

Twenty-seven flights, the majority to and from European routes, have been cancelled, the Thai flag carrier said, with three passenger jets forced to return to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport on Thursday.

9.15am

 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's call for dialogue must be reciprocated, time to deescalate before it's too late, tweeted Bilawal Bhutto.

 

8.50am

Fatima Bhutto, the grand daughter of former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Wednesday asked the Imran Khan government to release an Indian Air Force pilot captured after an air combat.

"I and many other young Pakistanis have called upon our country to release the captured Indian pilot as a gesture of our commitment to peace, humanity and dignity,"  Fatima Bhutto wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times.


8.45am

Pakistan Railways Administration has decided to suspend Samjhauta Express cross-border train service, reports APP. According to Railways, the train was not allowed to leave due to suspension of their operation by Pakistan authorities in wake of soaring tensions between two countries. The train used to run between Lahore and Attari,city in India on Monday and Thursday.

8.10am

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has urged India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any further military escalation over rising tensions between the two countries, Xinhua news agency reporte.

In a statement, Freeland said that "Canada is gravely concerned about rising tensions between India and Pakistan." "Dialogue between India and Pakistan is needed to identify a durable diplomatic solution and maintain peace and security in the region," the report said.

8.00am

Indian High Commission in Pakistan last evening gave a demarche to Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for immediate and safe return of captured Wing Commander Abhinandan. A similar demarche was given to Pakistan's acting High Commissioner in New Delhi earlier yesterday, reports ANI.

 

7.50am

Jammu and Kashmir has been under thick cover of security. Visuals from the Manjakote sector of Rajouri district.

 

7.49am

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Farhatullah Babar join in appeal for peace over the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.

 

 

7.35am

China urges against 'expansion' of tensions

China's foreign minister has called on Pakistan and India to avoid escalating tensions, expressing to his Pakistani counterpart "deep concern" over the Kashmir crisis amid fears aerial battles could snowball into an all-out conflict.

Wang Yi's comments came as Shah Mehmood Qureshi called him on Wednesday to provide an update on the latest developments in the standoff, the Chinese foreign ministry said Thursday.

7.30am

Stocks shake off an early loss, end mixed Stocks recovered most of an early loss and drifted to a mixed finish on Wall Street as gains for banks and industrial companies were offset by losses elsewhere in the market.

Capital One Financial rose 1.7 per cent, and Boeing climbed 2 percent. UnitedHealth Group fell 4.9 per cent. The S&P 500 fell 1 point, less than 0.1 per cent, to 2,792.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 72 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 25,985. The Nasdaq edged up 5 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,554. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.69 per cent.

7.20am

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke to both United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and United Kingdom NSA Mark Sedwill last night, ANI report said.

 

7.15am

Pakistan violated ceasefire at 6 am on Thursday in Krishna Ghati sector along the Line of Control in Poonch district. Indian Army retaliated effectively. Firing stopped around 7 am, ANI reports.

 

7.10am

Pakistan criticices lack of US rebuke to India Pakistan's ambassador to the United States says that the lack of U.S. condemnation for an Indian airstrike inside his country is seen by his government as having increased tensions between the two neighbours.

Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan told reporters in Washington Wednesday that the US response to the airstrike was "construed and understood as an endorsement of the Indian position, and that is what emboldened them even more."

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