Samjhauta Express passengers want India Pakistan service to continue

December 29th, 2008 - 9:15 pm ICT by ANI  

By Ravinder Singh Robin
Attari, Dec.29 (ANI): When Samjhauta Express train was started between India and Pakistan a few years ago, it cheered millions of people who were keen to meet their relatives after the partition of India in 1947.
Following the terror attack in Mumbai last month, there is fear that the train service may be discontinued. People fear that it may not be possible for them to meet their relatives.
The fear was visible on many faces at Attari Railway Station. Yasmeen, a resident of Hyderabad who has been married to a resident of Gujranwala in Pakistan, is worried that she may lose contact with her parent in India.
Yasmeen recently arrived in India along with her family for medical treatment of her husband. On Monday, while returning to Pakistan with her husband, her hope of meeting parents in India was fading.
Many other passengers at the railway station shared Yasmeens sentiment. She wanted the governments of India and Pakistan to remember that there were strong bonds between persons on both sides of the border. All wanted peace to prevail in the region.
The tension arose between India and Pakistan after the alleged Pakistani sponsored terrorist attack on Mumbai last month that had taken about 200 innocent lives.
After the terror attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, the government of India suspended all the cross-country transportation including Samjhauta Express with Pakistan. My parents live in India and husband in Pakistan. Where should I go, I dont want to leave any one of them I am going to Pakistan with my husband, as he was recently operated. He needs me over there, said Yasmeen.
She said she knew girls who were married in Pakistan or India, and all of them are having the same fear.
Mohammad Qureshi, another passenger, said that it is true that there is a sense of fear prevailing amongst the passengers. That is the reason that people avoid travelling in either country. After entering into Indian Territory, he was feeling relaxed.
He believed and hoped that the governments of India and Pakistan could defuse the tension.
Akhar Ali, another passenger from Karachi, who has arrived in India through Samjhauta Express felt that people of India and Pakistan dont want war.
The Samjhauta Express commonly called the Friendship Express, is a bi-weekly train Tuesdays and Fridays that runs between Delhi and Attari in India and Wagah and Lahore in Pakistan.
The train was started on July 22, 1976 following the Shimla Agreement and ran between Amritsar and Lahore, a distance of about 42 km. Following disturbances in Punjab in the late eighties, due to security reasons Indian Railways decided to terminate the service at Attari, where customs and immigration clearances take place.
Until the reopening of the Thar Express, this was the only rail connection between the two countries.
Again, the lone train service between the two neighbours, discontinued on January 1, 2002 in the wake of terrorist attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. But it was resumed in December, 2003. (ANI)

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