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Diplomatic fallout: Delhi-Lahore bus service cancelled

By Vishal S

New Delhi, Aug 12: A day after the Indian Railways cancelled Samjhauta Express, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) on Monday cancelled the Delhi-Lahore bus service.

The bus was to leave for Lahore on this morning at 6 am but was stopped. The last bus for Lahore left Delhi on Saturday, but that was a Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) bus.

File photo of Delhi-Lahore bus

DTC buses ply every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the PTDC buses every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, from Delhi to Lahore. For the return trip, DTC buses leave Lahore every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday whereas the PTDC buses are available every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The friendship bus service between the two countries was suspended by Pakistan in the wake of the Narendra Modi government's move to abrogate special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divide it into two Union Territories.

[Pakistan suspends Dosti bus service between Lahore and Delhi]

Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) had on Saturday also telephonically informed the DTC about the suspension of the service from Monday.

Samjhauta Express, the bi-weekly train that runs between Delhi and Lahore, has now been cancelled by the Indian Railways on the Indian side of the border days after Pakistan suspended services on its side. Pakistan was the first to suspend the Samjhauta Express and the Thar Express trains amid tensions over the BJP-led government's revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divided the state into two Union Territories (UTs).

[Tit-for-tat diplomacy: India cancels Samjhauta Express]

Indian Railways on Thursday had clarified that the Samjhauta Express has not yet been suspended but Pakistan authorities refused to send their crew to India citing security concern. The train stood in the Wagah side of the border in Pakistan with around 110 passengers yesterday. An Indian engine brought the train from Wagah to Attari. Pakistan has decided to downgrade diplomatic ties with India.

After the decision was taken by the National Security Committee (NSC), Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, their ambassadors will no longer be in Delhi and their counterparts in Pakistan will be sent back. Pakistan expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, minutes after it decided to downgrade the diplomatic ties with India over what it called New Delhi's "unilateral and illegal" move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

India on Monday revoked Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

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