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After Pak suspends service, Samjhauta Express carrying over 110 passengers reaches Delhi

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.

SNS | New Delhi |

After Pakistan suspended services of Samjhauta Express on Thursday, the cross-border train carrying 76 Indian and 41 Pakistani nationals reached Delhi early on Friday after a delay of around five hours.

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.

After this, Railway crew and guard from India had gone with a train engine to Pakistan to bring the train to Attari Railway Station.

From there, it departed for Delhi at around 1 am. The train was supposed to leave for the national capital at 8 pm but was delayed due to immigration check.

On Thursday, Pakistan stopped the Samjhauta Express at the Wagah border, citing security concerns.

“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.

Earlier in February, as tensions escalated after the Pulwama attack, Pakistan had suspended services of Samjhauta Express.

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.

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”.

The “Samjhauta” Express train, named after the Hindi word for “agreement”, comprises six sleeper coaches and an AC 3-tier coach.

On July 22, 1976, the Samjhauta Express train service was started under the Simla Agreement that settled the 1971 war between the two nations. The train runs from Delhi to Attari on the Indian side and from Lahore to Wagah on the Pakistan side.