Pakistan Suspends Delhi-Lahore ‘Friendship’ Bus Service
Image Courtesy: rediff.com
Islamabad: Pakistan has suspended the Lahore-Delhi friendship bus service, after suspending two cross-border trains, in the wake of India's decision revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories, a senior Pakistani minister has said.
The bus service was first started in February 1999 but suspended after the 2001 Parliament attack. It was restarted in July 2003.
The move is in line with the decisions taken during a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) held on Wednesday, Pakistan Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed said.
"In line with the decisions of NSC Pak-India bus service is suspended," Saeed tweeted on Friday.
The Lahore-Delhi bus service is operated from Ambedkar Stadium terminal near Delhi Gate. DTC buses ply every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) buses every Tuesday, Thursday & 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.
Earlier, Pakistan Minister of Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad had announced that it will suspend the Thar Express train service with India which links the two countries across the Rajasthan border, a day after it stopped the Samjhauta Express following its decision to downgrade bilateral ties.
Rasheed announced to suspend the services of Thar Express and said that the last train would leave for India late Friday night, the official APP news agency reported.
The Thar Express has been running between Jodhpur's Bhagat ki Kothi station to Karachi every Friday night since services resumed on February 18, 2006 after a 41-year suspension.
He said the 133 km new track was built with the cost of Rs 13 billion for Thar Express and now the track would be used for Thar coal project.
Trade Relations Formally Suspended
Pakistan has formally suspended its trade relations with India after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status.
On Friday, the federal cabinet headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan endorsed the decisions taken by the National Security Committee and the joint session of Parliament, which include suspension of trade ties with India, Dawn reported.
Trade relations between the two neighbours were already strained following the Pulwama terror attack as India imposed 200% customs duty on all goods imported from the neighbouring nation.
Imports from Pakistan declined by 92% to $2.84 million in March this year compared to $34.61 million in March 2018, according to the commerce ministry data. During January-March period of 2018-19 fiscal, imports from Pakistan declined by 47% to $53.65 million.
Two notifications were issued soon after the cabinet meeting to implement the decision to suspend bilateral trade with India with immediate effect and until further orders, the report said.
One notification suspends all kind of exports to India, while the other banned import of goods of Indian origin or those imported from it. Earlier, this ban was only limited to imports from Israel with which Pakistan has no trade ties at all.
Pakistan's imports have already entered negative growth with almost all countries, except India, as Islamabad mostly imports raw materials from India, the report said.
According to a data of Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), the total exports from India to Pakistan in 2018-2019 was around $2 billion. The major items exported by India include chemical products and textiles among others, and the imported items include mineral products and vegetable items.
On Monday, India revoked Article 370 to withdraw the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the region into two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh – leading to escalation of tension between India and Pakistan.
India has said Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and the issue was strictly internal to the country.
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