Afte Article 370 scrapped off Pakistan Stooped Samjhauta service & Delhi-Lahore dosti bus service: The stopping of the main cross-border train service between India and Pakistan ‘Samjhauta Express’ has raised concern over the Thar Link Express that a weekly train that runs between Jodhpur to Munabao in India and Khokhrapar to Karachi in Pakistan.
According to the officials, the Jodhpur-Karachi Thar Express has left Bhagat ki Kothi station at its scheduled time at 1 am Saturday, amid the fear that its run may end a few hours later at Munabao, the last station on the Indian side of the border.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced on Friday in Islamabad that this would be the last Jodhpur-Karachi train. Hence the suspicion is quite obvious that the journey could even end at Munabao in Rajasthan’s Barmer district where it was scheduled to reach at 7 am.
Gopal Sharma, the spokesperson at Northern Western Railway, said that they have no information or any direction to suspend the service of Thar Link Express. He said that till now the train is supposed to run on its scheduled date and time.
He further added that among the 165 passengers, 81 are Indians who are visiting their relatives in Pakistan while eighty-four are Pakistan nationals who are returning to their country after completion of their visa limit in India.
Pakistan announced the suspension of the Thar Express and the Samjhauta Express following its decision to downgrade bilateral ties after India revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
The Thar Express has been running between Jodhpur and Pakistan’s Karachi every Friday night since services resumed on February 18, 2006, after a 41-year suspension.
Approximately four lakh passengers have travelled in this train so far since this service has started. Every week hundreds of Pakistani and Indian passengers commute on this train to meet their relatives on the other side of the border.
Locals do not want any disturbance to the Thar Express in such a situation. Local resident Tirth Dan, who came to India in 2006 and recently got the Indian Citizenship in June this year, said that Thar Express is not merely a train, it is a journey of relationship.
Dan said, “On both the sides of the border, many families have their blood relatives and after a long wait of four decades, they are now able to meet them.”
Thar Link Express service had remained unaffected after the tense situation between both the countries after the Pulwama attack. Although the Samjhauta Express was suspended for a brief while, it was restored within weeks.