ISLAMABAD: Islamabad on Thursday decided to suspend Samjhauta Express train service between Pakistan and India as part of its reaction to Delhi’s decision to strip occupied Kashmir of its autonomous status.
The decision was announced by Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed at a press conference at the National Press Club. “Before the announcement of the decision, the passengers of Samjhauta Express with their luggage were sent to Wagha border and India was asked to send its engine to take the passengers away,” he said.
The minister said that the passengers who had booked tickets for next train scheduled to depart from Lahore would get refund from the divisional superintendent office of Pakistan Railways.
“The train which operates twice a week every Thursday and Monday would not run any more,” Mr Ahmed said.
“India continues to commit human rights violations in Kashmir and we will not remain a mere spectator. Samjhauta Express will not operate as long as I am minister for railways,” he said.
Replying to a question, the minister said that recent tension on the Line of Control was planned and predicted that three to six months were crucial.
“A war may break out between the two nuclear states. We do not want war and want peace in the region as war will be dangerous,” the minister said.
About the plan to utilise the bogies of Samjhauta Express, the minister said that the bogies would be attached to Karachi-bound Eid special trains to meet the shortage of seats. He said that two additional bogies would be attached to other passenger trains.
He said that the railways ministry had devised a plan for cleanliness and punctuality of trains and improvement of coaches.