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Pakistan shuts down Samjhota Express train service with India

Pakistan has suspended Samjhota Express train service with India. This development took place amid India’s step to revoke Article 370 in Indian occupied Kashmir.

 Pakistan would suspend a rail service linking it to India, as relations with its arch-rival continue to sour, the announcement was made by the  Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed.

“We have decided to shut down Samjhauta Express,” Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed told a news conference on Thursday, in reference to the train running between New Delhi and Lahore.

“As long as I am railways minister, Samjhauta Express can’t operate”.

While addressing the presser Sheikh Rasheed further said that the bogies of Samjhota Express will now be used for passengers traveling on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.

The railway minister has assured that people who had bought tickets will be reimbursed.

Samjhota Express runs twice a week (Monday and Thursday) from Lahore to Attari via the Wagah railway station.

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This train service was started on July 22, 1976, under the Simla Agreement that settled the 1971 war between the two nations.

Samjhota Train comprises of six sleeper coaches and an AC 3-tier coach and it is named after the Hindi and Urdu word for ‘agreement’.

Previously, the Samjhota train service was suspended earlier this year, due to rising military tensions between the two countries.

The decision to suspend the train service has come following India’s move to scrap Article 370 on Monday, revoking its ‘special status’.

A day earlier, Pakistan announced that it will ‘send back’ Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced on Wednesday, days after New Delhi stripped the disputed region of its special autonomy, in a televised comment that “we will call back our ambassador from Delhi and send back their envoy”.

 

Saman Siddiqui

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