In its latest move to act against India’s interests after the Modi government’s move on Article 370, Pakistan has now attempted to stop the Samjhauta Express.
According to a Pakistani news channel, Pakistan has suspended Samjhauta Express in protest against India’s move to scrap Article 370 to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status.
This is part of a series of actions Pakistan has taken since Monday’s decision by the Modi government to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories and also abolish Article 370.
Pakistan Railway minister Sheikh Rasheed has confirmed the suspension.
The Indian government was not informed by the Pakistan government about its latest move. This has resulted in a number of passengers being stranded at the Wagah-Attari border in Punjab.
Pakistan has refused to send its driver and guard with the Samjhauta Express to the Indian side at the Attari international railway station.
Attari railway station superintendent Arvind Kumar has said that it was Pakistan’s turn to send the Samjhauta Express train to India, however, the neighbours have not done their bit on Thursday.
Instead of sending the train, Pakistan informed the Indian side that they should send a driver and crew to take back the Samjhauta Express from Pakistan.
Pakistan has cited security reasons behind this sudden move.
Arvind Kumar has now said that a driver and crew who have visa for the trip will be sent to Pakistan to bring back the train.
“The train is standing in the Wagah side [of the border] which has around 110 passengers. Our engine has also left from Attari. We will bring the train from Wagah to Attari,” Deepak Kumar, CPRO, Northern Railways told ANI.
“Samjhauta Express plies between Lahore and Attari which is still continuing. Pakistan authorities had raised issues regarding security of the train’s crew and guard. We have told them that situation this side is perfectly normal,” he said.
Deepak Kumar also claimed that the train has not been suspended or cancelled from the Indian side.
Pakistan on Wednesday expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, minutes after it decided to downgrade the diplomatic ties with India over what it called New Delhi’s “unilateral and illegal” move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
This was announced after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a crucial meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), attended by top civil and military leadership, during which it was also decided to suspend the bilateral trade and review the “bilateral arrangements”.
“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in televised comments soon after the NSC meeting.
Later, the Foreign Office in a statement said that “Pursuant to the decision of the National Security Committee today, the Government of India has been told to withdraw its High Commissioner to Pakistan.”
It, however, did not give any time line for India to pull back its envoy.
“The Indian Government has also been informed that Pakistan will not be sending its High Commissioner-designate to India,” the statement said.