After leaving behind the train, the Indian Railways staff, along with the engine, returned to Indian side at 7.29 pm.
New Delhi: A day after “downgrading” diplomatic ties and suspending border trade with India, Pakistan in a dramatic move on Thursday stopped the Samjhauta Express at the Wagah border, leaving 110 passengers stranded. Citing security reasons, the Pakistani side refused to cross over to Attari on Thursday afternoon.
The train, that was due to reach Attari at 12.30 pm, finally arrived at 5.15 pm after the Indian Railways sent its engine, crew and securitymen to bring it to Attari. Later, at 6.40 pm, the same Indian engine, driver, cew and safety staff took the train back, with 70 passengers, to Wagah, where it reached at 7 pm. After leaving behind the train, the Indian Railways staff, along with the engine, returned to Indian side at 7.29 pm.
While Indian Railways officials said the train has not been suspended, Pakistan’s railway minister Sheikh Rasheed said Thursday that they are permanently discontinuing the Samjhauta Express. “The bogies of the Samjhauta Express will be attached to special Id trains. This will increase the capacity of Id trains and more people will be able to travel in them,” the minister was quoting by the Pakistani media as saying. He added that those who already have tickets can get them reimbursed at Lahore.
However, Northern Railway spokesman Deepak Kumar said the train had not been suspended. “It will run. The Pakistan authorities have raised some concerns with regards to security for the crew and guard. We have told them the situation is normal. However, we are sending our own engine with our crew guard to bring the train from Wagah to Attari,” Mr Kumar said.
Officials in Indian Railways said since there is no formal cancellation, it will continue to operate. The next train from Delhi to Attari will leave on schedule Sunday night with 28 passengers.