- Passengers from Lahore had to wait for nearly 3 hours at Wagah
- We have decided to shut down Samjhauta Express: Pak minister
- Pak has taken series of retaliatory steps against India's Kashmir move
Passengers of the Samjhauta Express coming from Pakistan's Lahore had to wait for nearly three hours at the Wagah border today as Islamabad declared it was shutting down the train service as part of its retaliatory measures against the centre's decision on Jammu and Kashmir. "We have decided to shut down Samjhauta Express," Pakistan's railways minister Sheikh Rasheed told a news conference on Thursday, reported news agency Reuters. "As long as I am railways minister, Samjhauta Express can't operate," he said.
At Wagah, where the train reached at 1 pm, the Pakistani crew stopped and refused to go any further. They demanded that the Indian crew should come and drive it across the Indian territory.
After nearly three hours an Indian team took charge and the train started on its way to Attari.
The Railways denied that the Samjhauta Express service has been stopped. Regarding today's incident at Wagah, a spokesperson of the railways told reporters, "Today, Pakistani authorities had raised an issue of security with regard to crew and guard of the train. We told them that situation here is totally fine. We told them that we can send our guards and engine there".
Yesterday, Pakistan expelled the Indian envoy in Islamabad and announced a five-point plan that included a downgrade of its ties with India and suspension of bilateral trade, in response to the government's move to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate it into two Union territories.
Islamabad also said it would appeal to the United Nation's Security Council over the issue.
"We have seen reports that Pakistan has decided to take certain unilateral actions in respect to its bilateral relations with India," the foreign ministry said.
The intention behind Pakistan's measures "is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties", read the statement issued by the ministry. The reasons cited by Pakistan are not supported by facts on the ground, the government added.
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