India halts train, bus services with Pakistan

Other News Materials 29 December 2007 13:13 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - India has temporarily suspended train and bus services with Pakistan due to security reasons after Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto's assassination plunged the country into violence, officials said Saturday.

The Railway Ministry on Friday evening ordered the cancellation of the Samjhauta Express and the Thar Express to Pakistan until further notice.

"Safety of the passengers is our main concern. On the advice of the Home Ministry we have decided to suspend the services until the situation gets back to normal in the country," said an Indian Railway spokesman.

"The security situation in Pakistan had deteriorated and there were reports of protestors burning trains and holding violent demonstrations after the assassination on Thursday," he added.

Hundreds of Pakistani nationals were stranded in the north-western state of Rajasthan state after the decision to halt the Thar Express which was to leave on Friday night.

The PTI news agency reported that many of the Pakistani nationals were worried since their visa was to expire in a day or two.

Soon after Bhutto's killing, India had also ordered its border forces to maintain a tight vigil to prevent terrorists from infiltrating into the country.

The Delhi-Lahore bus service which is run by the Delhi Transport Corporation was also cancelled on Friday.

Local media outlets quoted officials saying the bus link was suspended temporarily and they would soon take a decision on whether to resume it on Tuesday.

However, the bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, the capitals of Indian and Pakistani administered parts of Kashmir was not halted and would be operated as usual.

In a related development, Indian authorities also suspended trans- border truck trade with Pakistan as a precautionary measure.

Bus and train links as well as the cross-border truck trade were among the slew of confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan as part of their peace-dialogue.

The nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours began a dialogue to resolve differences on a host of issues, including disputed stretches of their border and the Kashmir region in early 2004.