KARACHI: PIA has finally secured rights to fly to Tokyo and will start operating a twice-weekly service to the Japanese capital via Bangkok-Manila on July 3, [agency] reliably learnt in Karachi.

This “partial success” comes after prolonged negotiations spreading over five years with Japanese Government and Civil Aviation authorities who refused permission to PIA flights to Tokyo through the People’s Republic of China. The agreed Dacca-Bangkok-Manila-Tokyo route avoids China completely.

... Pakistan has been seeking Japanese consent for operating PIA flights to Tokyo via Shanghai since 1964 — three years after signing a bilateral civil aviation agreement which accepted in principle the two countries’ right to operate to and through each other territory. Japanese Air Lines (JAL) is operating to and through Pakistan ever since the agreement came into force and, according to reliable sources, they are earning from this country over Rs 60 lakhs per year. PIA’s eagerness to secure traffic rights through China is evident from the fact that twice in 1966 full-fledged negotiations were held — first in Tokyo then in Karachi. But both times these negotiations fell through as did those held in April 1967. Pakistan made another effort to persuade the Japanese in granting these rights, when former Foreign Minister Mr Sharifuddin Pirzada paid an official visit to Tokyo, but again failed.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2019