A senior Railways official said that the Lahore-Attari Samjhauta Express train service had not been suspended. The clarification followed Pakistan’s decision to stop the train from Lahore to Atari at Wagah in Pakistan, citing security concerns, leaving 110 passengers, including 48 Pakistanis, stranded.
Following this, the Railways sent its crew and guard to escort the train to its destination.
“Pakistan authorities had raised concerns about security for the crew and guard… We told them that the situation is normal on this side,” Northern Railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar said.
After a delay of several hours, the train with the Indian crew reached Atari at 5.15 p.m. The return train, with 70 passengers waiting to cross over to Pakistan, left Atari at 6.40 p.m.
Pakistan’s Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Thursday said that Islamabad had decided to stop the Samjhauta Express train service immediately in response to India’s decision to change the status of Kashmir.
Mr. Ahmad announced the stoppage at a news conference in Islamabad. He also said he would not allow a resumption of the train service till such time he was the Railways Minister.
However, Northern Railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar said the train had not been suspended. “The Samjhauta Express train has not been suspended. It will run,” Mr. Kumar said. The clarification came after the train from Lahore was stopped at Wagah by Pakistani authorities. After several hours’ delay, the train with the Indian crew reached Atari at 5.15 p.m.
The return train, carrying about 70 passengers waiting to cross over to Pakistan, left Atari station at 6.40 p.m.
“After leaving the train at Wagah, Indian engine returned to Indian territory at 19.29 hrs. Now Pakistan engine will haul train to Lahore. It is confirmed by the Pakistan authorities,” Mr. Kumar said.