India cancels Samjhauta Express train after Pakistan suspended operations
India cancelled the Samjhauta Express train services on Sunday, days after Pakistan suspended its operations on its side. “Inconsequent to Pakistan's decision to cancel Samjhauta Express 14607/14608 running between Lahore and Attari, the Samjhauta Link Express train number 14001/14002 running between Delhi and Attari also stands cancelled,” the Northern Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO).
Pakistan announced the suspension of the Thar Express and the Samjhauta Express following its decision to downgrade bilateral ties after India revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
“We have not received any communication or information from any side till now regarding the Thar Express. As per the current information, it will depart as scheduled today,” Jodhpur division spokesperson Gopal Sharma said on Saturday.
On Thursday, Pakistan's Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told the media in Islamabad that the Samjhauta Express train has been suspended. On Friday, he made a similar announcement on the train across the Rajasthan border.
The Samjhauta Express was held up at Wagah on Thursday for some time by Pakistan authorities, citing security concerns. An Indian locomotive then brought the train to its side of the border.
Since its resumption in 2006, the Thar Express too has been popular with people visiting families across the Rajasthan border, and for Pakistani Hindus who plan to migrate to India.
Though the Samjhauta Express was briefly suspended after the Indian Air Force struck a terror base in Pakistan's Balakot in February, the Thar Express continued unaffected.
Pakistan's decision to suspend the services of the two trains came after it expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria on Wednesday, downgrading diplomatic ties over what it called New Delhi's "unilateral and illegal" move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.