Pakistan approaches India over closure notice to PIA
New Delhi/Lahore: The Pakistan high commission Monday approached the Indian government over closure notices to PIA properties in the Indian capital, officials said.
Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said in Islamabad that Pakistan International Airlines had been directed to initiate litigation over the property row.
India has asked PIA to shut its office in New Delhi, alleging that the property in Connaught Place was bought without the mandatory clearance of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
“We approached the external affairs ministry today,” a Pakistani official told IANS.
He said the move to close down the offices of PIA was “unfair” and would harm people-to-people contacts and business between the two countries.
He said many Pakistani patients used the airline to seek healthcare in India.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin termed the issue a “storm in a tea cup”.
According to the Pakistani official, PIA purchased the property in 2005 and intimated it to RBI within 90 days, and that PIA had been paying taxes on the property.
In Lahore, Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Sher Ali Khan told Geo News that PIA would not close its office in New Delhi.
Khan said all legal formalities had been completed when the property was purchased and that the matter would be resolved “according to law”.
On the issue of renewal of visas of senior PIA staff, India has said the process was on.
Indian laws state that no national of Pakistan among some other countries can acquire or transfer immovable property in India other than lease, not exceeding five years without prior permission of the RBI.
Three PIA executives were called for questioning over the alleged illegal purchase and notices were issued to PIA to shut down the properties in New Delhi.