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After Samjhauta, uncertainty looms over Thar Express service

Press Trust of India  |  Jodhpur 

After the disruption of the Samjhauta Express service at Wagah border, there was apprehension on Friday that Thar Express which links India and Pakistan across the Rajasthan border could be suspended.

The train has been running between Jodhpur's Bhagat ki Kothi station to Karachi every Friday night since services resumed on February 18, 2006 after a 41-year suspension.

Though there was no official word to North Western Railway's Jodhpur division on any cancellation, uncertainty loomed during the day.

There were reports that Pakistan has suspended the Thar Express service following its decision to downgrade bilateral ties after India revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

We have not received any communication or information from any side till now regarding Thar Express. As per the current information, it will depart as scheduled today, Jodhpur division spokesperson Gopal Sharma said.

On Thursday, Pakistan's Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told the media in Islamabad that Samjhauta Express train has been suspended. But Indian Railway officials said they had no information on it from the neighbouring country on it.

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.

Since its resumption, Thar Express too has been popular with people visiting families across the border, and for Pakistani Hindus who plan to migrate to India.

According to one estimate, over four lakh passengers have taken the train in the past 13 years.

Though Samjhauta Express was briefly suspended after the Indian Air Force struck a terror base in Pakistan's Balakot in February, Thar Express continued unaffected.

Hindu Singh Sodha, president of the Seemant Lok Sangthan, said it would be unfortunate if the train falls victim to the recent turn of events.

The train has been an important medium of transportation for the people from the border areas of both nations for maintaining their relations since Partition, he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 09 2019. 16:45 IST