Samjhota Express to resume operations on Monday: Sheikh Rashid

Published March 2, 2019
Railways minister appreciates railways' performance over past week. — APP/File
Railways minister appreciates railways' performance over past week. — APP/File

Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid on Saturday announced that the Samjhota Express train service between Pakistan and India will resume operations on Monday, March 04.

Addressing the media in Lahore, Rashid said that the service will resume on Monday and continue as per schedule.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced the suspension of Samjhota Express operations in light of the prevailing tensions with India. The train service runs twice a week (Monday and Thursday) from Lahore to Attari via the Wagah railway station.

The railways minister also appreciated his department's performance over the past week. "When [Pakistan's] airspace was shut down, the railways department took on 25 per cent more load to make up for the deficits."

Security arrangements across Pakistan had been tightened in light of tensions between the two neighbouring countries. Flight operations were suspended when the Pakistani airspace was closed to commercial flights early on Wednesday. Operations have since been partially revived at the Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta airports.

Tensions between the neighbouring countries escalated after Indian aircraft violated Pakistan's airspace on Tuesday. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had "immediately scrambled" and the Indian planes were forced to return. A day later, the PAF undertook strikes across the Line of Control from Pakistani airspace, following which two Indian aircrafts violated the LoC again and were shot down by the PAF.

The civil and military leadership of Pakistan has urged India to de-escalate tensions while emphasising its right to respond to Indian aggression. Analysts had expected the situation to de-escalate on Friday evening as Prime Minister Imran Khan released a captured Indian pilot, in an overture towards New Delhi, but the situation remains tense.

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