After Samjhauta Express, Pakistan suspends Lahore-Delhi bus service
The service, which originally is operated from Ambedkar Stadium terminal near Delhi Gate, was earlier suspended after the 2001 Parliament attack. It was restarted in July 2003.Updated: Aug 10, 2019 08:00 IST
A day after it halted operation of the trans-border train Samjhauta Express in a unilateral action in response to the stripping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, Pakistan on Friday suspended the Lahore-Delhi bus service between the two countries.
In a tweet, Pakistan’s minister for communications and postal services Murad Saeed said: “In line with the decisions of the National Security Committee, Pak-India bus service is suspended.”
This service was launched with the Delhi-Lahore bus, Sada-e-Sarhad, in February 19, 1999. In its inaugural run, the bus carried the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was to attend a summit in Lahore and was received by his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Wagah in Pakistan.
The service, which originally is operated from Ambedkar Stadium terminal near Delhi Gate, was earlier suspended after the 2001 Parliament attack. It was restarted in July 2003.
Till Friday, all buses were going to and coming from Pakistan via the Attari-Wagah border as usual, though security of these buses had been beefed up keeping in view the prevailing tension between the neighbouring countries over Kashmir. But the Pakistan minister suddenly made announcement about its suspension in the evening.
Under the trans-border service, Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses to Lahore are operated from the Ambedkar Stadium bus terminal near the Delhi Gate. These buses ply every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) runs buses to Delhi on every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Besides, buses were also run from Amritsar to Pakistan, though these hardly find any takers due to multiple reasons. Run by Punjab Roadways, the Punj-Aab bus between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib, birthplace of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak, was flagged off by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006 as a confidence-building measure and to connect people from across the border. Pakistan reciprocated by starting the Dosti bus the same year, with much fanfare.
Article 370 | Samjhauta Express services shut down by Pakistan
The Punj-Aab bus departs from the international terminal of the Punjab Roadways in Amritsar at 9.30am on Tuesdays and Fridays and returns on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Similarly, the Dosti bus run by Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation come from Pakistan side to Amritsar on the same days and goes back the next day.
The Samjhauta Express was held up at Wagah on Thursday for some time by Pakistan authorities, citing security concerns. An Indian locomotive then brought the train to its side of the border.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan suspended the Thar Express services between Jodhpur and Karachi.
In the last 48 hours, Islamabad has downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi, asked Indian high commissioner in Islamabad to return to New Delhi and suspended trade ties with India.
First Published: Aug 10, 2019 07:47 IST