Pakistan has suspended the Samjhauta Express train service with India, the Pakistan Railways Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, announced on Thursday, a day after Islamabad downgraded the diplomatic ties with New Delhi. 'We have decided to suspend the Samjhauta train service,' Mr. Rasheed said. 'Till I am Railways Minister, the Samjhauta Express train service will not operate,' he said, adding that the bogies of the train will now be used for passengers travelling on the occasion of Eid.
The train service was suspended earlier this year due to escalating tensions between the two neighbouring countries. However, the service was later resumed. 'The next three to four months are very important. War can happen, but we do not want a war. If war is waged on us, it will be the last one,' the Minister warned. He made the announcement as passengers were waiting at the Lahore station to board the train to travel to India. The Samjhauta Express, named after the word for 'agreement', comprises six sleeper coaches and an AC 3-tier coach.
The train service was started on July 22, 1976, under the Shimla Agreement that settled the 1971 War between the two nations. On the Indian side, the train runs from Delhi to Attari and from Lahore to Wagah on the Pakistan side. Pakistan’s latest move comes a day after it expelled the Indian High Commissioner, Mr. Ajay Bisaria on Wednesday and decided to downgrade the diplomatic ties over what it called New Delhi’s unilateral and illegal' move to revoke the special status for the state.