Amid recent developments in Kashmir, Pakistan on Thursday temporarily suspended Samjhauta Express services, leaving passengers stranded.
Pakistani authorities stopped the Samjhauta Express at the Wagah border days after India moved a presidential order to revoke Article 370 that gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir special status under the Indian Constitution.
High drama was witnessed at the Attari Railway Station as passengers travelling in the Samjhauta Express were left stranded at the station after the driver and guard refused to enter India.
“Services haven’t stopped. Our driver and guard refused to come to India. So they sent us a message to send engine with Indian crew and guard. They will go with the engine and bring the train,” Pakistan Station Master was quoted as saying by ANI.
CPRO, Northern Railways Deepak Kumar said that the Samjhauta Express which plies between Lahore and Attari is still functional. He said that Pakistan authorities have raised issues regarding the security of the train’s crew and guard.
Indian authorities have assured Pakistan that the situation this side is perfectly normal.
The railway official further said that Indian authorities will bring the train from Wagah — where the train is standing with around 110 passengers — to Attari.
A train engine from India has already left Attari for Wagah.
There were 70 passengers at Attari who are travelling to Pakistan.
Earlier in February, as tensions escalated after the Pulwama attack, Pakistan had suspended services of cross-border train Samjhauta Express.
The move comes after a series of steps taken by the Pakistan government in the wake of Centre repealing Article 370.
Islamabad on Wednesday decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India over the Kashmir move. It expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and suspended trade with India.
The decision was taken at a meeting of National Security Committee (NSC) – the second within a week – presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the situation following the Indian government’s move on Kashmir.
Hours after the dramatic decision, Pakistan closed its airspace partially. Three out of 11 routes between India and Pakistan have been closed.
On Tuesday, the Indian Parliament had okayed a resolution to scrap Article 370 and passed a bill to split the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The Pakistan government has termed India’s move as “unilateral and illegal”.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has reportedly announced that it is permanently discontinuing the Samjhauta Express train service with India.
The decision was announced by Pakistan’s Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed at a press conference.
He said that the bogies of the Samjhauta Express will now be used for passengers travelling on the occasion of Eid. “This will increase the capacity of Eid trains and more people will be able to travel in them.”