By Muhammad Luqman
Samjhota Express, running between Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore and Indian capital New Delhi could not leave for India Thursday due to suspension of its operations by Pakistan authorities in wake of soaring tensions between two countries.
The train has the history of surviving the dips in the relations of India and Pakistan since its launch in 1976 under 1972 Simla agreement. It underwent the worst moments of its operations in 2007, when 70 people (mostly Pakistani civilians) were killed and scores more injured in a terrorist attack by Hindu extremists near Indian town of Panipat.
Flights between India and Pakistan have already been suspended in the wake of rise in tensions between the two nuclear armed South Asian rivals. The air space of both the countries has already been closed for the flights, following the incidents of intrusion of Indian air force into Pakistani space. Pakistan had shot down two Indian fighter aircraft on Wednesday.
The only way to travel between Pakistan and India is the Dosti Bus service , plying between Lahore and the New Delhi.
According to media reports, the passengers went back to their towns after the Atari bound train was not allowed to leave Lahore Railways Station. The train was due to leave for India from Lahore at 08:00am today (Thursday).
According to Additional General Manager Railways Zubair Shafi the decision to suspend Samjhota Express was taken in wake of prevailing situation to avert any untoward incident.