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Back On Track: Samjhauta Express to operate from India to Pakistan again

PW Bureau

Pakistan had stopped its operations soon after an IAF air strike on its country, while India stopped the services of the train on February 28 New Delhi: A day after Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was handed back to India, the Samjhauta Express commenced its services for Pakistan from New Delhi on Sunday, with the two countries deciding to operationalise services, a top railway official said. Pakistan had stopped its operations soon after an IAF air strike on its country, while India stopped the services of the train on February 28. The Railway Board had cancellation its operations last month due to "purely operational reasons". Services of the Attari Special Express, Delhi-Attari-Delhi, together with the Pakistani line from Wagah-Lahore, called the Samjhauta or Friendship Express. India decided to resume its services soon after the missive about Pakistan's commencing of services was conveyed to the board. The train will leave from Lahore on Monday for its return journey, the official said. Samjhauta running since July 22, 1976 On the Indian side on the journey, the train travels from Delhi to Attari and from Lahore to Wagah on the Pakistan side. The train runs from Delhi on every Wednesday and Sunday, while it departs from Lahore on Monday and Thursday. The Samjhauta Express, named after the Hindi word for "agreement", started its services on July 22, 1976, under the Shimla Agreement that settled India-Pakistan war in 1971. Samjhauta Express sees a drop in footfall The train’s footfall, which generally posts 70-percent occupancy, had fallen drastically following the suicide car bombing on February 14 that killed around 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir. The operation was carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist outfit.