Pakistan continued its unilateral actions on Friday to protest Indian Parliament’s removal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status by announcing to halt the last train service to India, named Thar Express, a day after it had announced suspension of Samjhauta Express service between Lahore and Delhi.
“We have decided to shut down the Thar Express as well,” Pakistan’s railways minister Sheikh Rashid told reporters, in reference to the weekly service running between the towns of Khokrapar in Pakistan and Munabao in Barmer, India.
“As long as I am railways minister, no train will operate between Pakistan and India.” Rashid added.
Rashid Ahmed had on Thursday announced the discontinuation of Samjhauta Express-- a bi-weekly train service started in 1976. “We have decided to shut down Samjhauta Express… As long as I am railways minister, Samjhauta Express can’t run,” he had said.
Decision to suspend train services was in line with Islamabad’s other actions to remonstrate, like snapping talks on consular access to former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court for alleged espionage.
Pakistan has also banned screening of Indian movies. Late on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said at an interaction with journalists that Pakistan does not want war but will give a befitting response if India imposes it, Geo News reported.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar described Islamabad’s action as “unilateral” and said New Delhi has urged it to reconsider its decision.
“Actions taken by Pakistan are unilateral.This has been done without consulting us.We’ve urged them to reconsider their decision.Our sense is that whatever is being done by Pakistan is to present an alarming picture of bilateral relationship,” he said.
India has maintained that changes made to Indian laws doing away with special status to Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and Pakistan had no business interfering.
“It is time for Pakistan to accept the reality and stop interfering in internal affairs of other countries,” he said.