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Pakistan shuts down Samjhauta Express

August 9, 2019

In an act of retaliation against India's move to end special status to Kashmir, Pakistan has shut down the Samjhauta Express. Passengers on the train coming from Pakistan's Lahore had to wait for nearly three hours at the Wagah border on Thursday after Pakistan declared it was shutting down the train service as part of its measures against the Indian government's decision on Jammu and Kashmir.

We have decided to shut down Samjhauta Express. As long as I am Railways Minister, Samjhauta Express can't operate. - Sheikh Rasheed, Railways Minister, Pakistan

When the train reached Wagah at the border 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.

On Wednesday Pakistan expelled the Indian envoy in Islamabad Ajay Bisaria and announced a five-point plan that included a downgrade of its ties with India and suspension of bilateral trade. It also plans to appeal to the United Nations Security Council over the issue.

India has asked Pakistan to review its decision."We have seen reports that Pakistan has decided to take certain unilateral actions in respect to its bilateral relations with India," said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson. "The intention behind Pakistan's measures is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties".

India says the reasons given by Pakistan are not supported by the ground realities.

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