How to get to Pakistan

A 2004 file photo of the Samjhauta Express.

A 2004 file photo of the Samjhauta Express.   | Photo Credit: AP

Let’s have a look the available direct transport facilities between India and Pakistan

With the suspension of the Karachi-Mumbai flight by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), reportedly for commercial considerations, and the temporary suspension of the PIA’s flight from Lahore to Delhi from May 8, those who wish to travel to the neighbouring country have the option of only rail and road transport.

Let’s have a look the available direct transport facilities between the two countries.

Samjhauta Express

The Samjhauta Express, roughly translated as the Agreement Express or Compromise Express, was introduced in July 1976 after the signing of the Shimla Agreement by Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. It runs on Mondays and Thursdays between Delhi and Lahore and stops at Attari in India and Wagah in Pakistan for immigration clearances.

Technically, it is two trains: the Delhi-Attari express, and the actual Samjhauta Express from Attari to Lahore. For six months, the train is run by India and the subsequent six months by Pakistan.

The service was suspended after the terrorist attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001 and resumed on January 12, 2004.

Blasts on the train near Panipat on February 18, 2007 killed 68 people. The service was suspended for a brief period and resumed again.

Again, it was suspended after the assassination of former Prime Minister and Pakistan People’s Party leader Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007 in Rawalpandi. However, it was resumed after two days.

Due to protests by Jats demanding quota in Haryana, the service was cancelled. It was resumed in May 2016.

Thar Express

Forty-one years after the disruption of the rail link between India and Pakistan on the western border, the Thar Express service was resumed on February 18, 2006. Now, the train runs between Munabao in Barmer district of Rajasthan and Karachi.

The rail link snapped after Pakistani fighter jets bombed the track in the 1965 war. Prior to that, trains were run between Mumbai and Karachi through Munabao. The track between Barmer, forming part of the then Jodhpur princely State, and Sadipalli in Sindh was laid way back in December 1900.

Delhi-Lahore bus

The Sarhad-e-Hind bus service was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan Prime Minisiter Nawaz Sharif, with Mr. Vajpayee travelling by the bus to Lahore to attend a summit on February 19, 1999.

It is run jointly by the Delhi Transport Corporation and the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation. The service went on even during the Kargil war. It was suspended after the Parliament attack, but was resumed on July 16, 2003.

Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus

After a meeting between then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi, the green signal for the Srinagar-Muzzaffarbad bus service was given. The service to the city in PoK was started on April 7, 2005 as a part of confidence-building measures between the two nations. Despite many disruptions due to tensions on the Line of Control and hostility in the Kashmir region, the Karawan-e-Aman (peace caravan) was run every fortnight and now it is operated on a weekly basis.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 12:39:51 PM |

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