India suspends Thar Link Express to Pakistan

The railways cancelled operations of Thar Link Express that connects Jodhpur in India to Karachi in Pakistan, officials said, a development that temporarily snaps all rail links between the two countries, as the services of Samjhauta Express have already been suspended.

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The train’s scheduled journey will not take place, North Western Railway’s Chief Public Relations Officer Abhay Sharma told PTI. “Thar Express rail services are being suspended till further orders by the Railways,” Sharma said in a statement. The spokesperson added that 45 people had booked tickets for this train to go to Pakistan.

On August 9, Pakistan had announced that it discontinue train services of the Thar Express, which runs across the Rajasthan border linking the two nations. However, it gave clearance for its last journey to Karachi, which had 165 passengers on board.

The move comes days after India cancelled the Samjhauta Express from its side. The “link” express train, that took passengers to Attari from where passengers could board the train to Pakistan, stands cancelled. “In consequent to Pakistan’s decision to cancel Samjhauta Express 14607/14608 running between Lahore and Atari… the link express train number 14001/ 14002 running between Delhi and Attari also stands cancelled,” Deepak Kumar, Chief Public Relations Officer of Northern Railway had said.

At a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan’s Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid had said, “As long as I am railways minister, Samjhauta Express and Thar Express will not operate. That’s it.”

After a 41-year suspension, the Thar Link Express resumed its services on February 18, 2006, connecting Jodhpur’s Bhagat ki Kothi station to Karachi and running every Friday night. The services were briefly suspended on February 28 this year after the relations between the two nuclear-armed countries nosedived in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack

The relations between India and Pakistan has become strenuous after the Centre’s decision to scrap the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. As part of downgrading diplomatic ties with India. Islamabad had suspended the bi-weekly Samjhauta train service connecting Lahore and Delhi.

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