Pakistan has suspended Samjhauta Express train service amid the escalating tensions between the two countries, according to Pakistan media reports. The train departs on Monday and Thursday from Lahore. The Samjhauta Express train service between Pakistan and India has been suspended until further notice, DawnNewsTV reported on Thursday citing railway authorities. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal earlier on Wednesday said, "We have not received any instructions from authorities about any change in the running of the Samjhauta Express. We will follow all instructions given to us in this regard."
India carried out air strikes against the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In the operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for suicide attacks were eliminated. The facility at Balakot was headed by Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of the JeM chief.
The Railways on Wednesday said the Samjhauta Express departed on time with 27 passengers onboard, amidst reports that Pakistan has suspended its operations between Wagah to Lahore on its side. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal earlier Wednesday said, "We have not received any instructions from authorities about any change in the running of the Samjhauta Express. We will follow all instructions given to us in this regard."
Originally, the train offered a through service with one rake going all the way between the terminals - Delhi in India to Lahore in Pakistan. However, now a Pakistani rake stops at Attari at which point passengers have to change trains and board an Indian rake.
The Samjhauta Express, named after the Hindi 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.
From Lahore, the train departs on Monday and Thursday.
Sources said the footfall on the train, which generally records an occupancy of around 70 per cent, has fallen drastically post the Pulwama attack on February 14 in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.