Pakistan suspends train service to India as Kashmir dispute continues

Pakistan suspends train service to India as Kashmir dispute continues

A passenger from India gestures to her relatives as she leaves by Samjhauta Express train at the ra
A passenger from India gestures to her relatives as she leaves by Samjhauta Express train at the railway station in Lahore, Pakistan March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/Files

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Thursday (Aug 8) it would suspend a rail service linking it to India, as relations with its arch rival continue to sour over the contested Kashmir region.

“We have decided to shut down Samjhauta Express,” railways minister Sheikh Rasheed told a news conference, in reference to the train running to India's capital New Delhi from the Pakistani city of Lahore. 

“As long as I am railways minister, Samjhauta Express can’t operate."

READ: Over 500 detained as Indian Kashmir seethes under lockdown

Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India on Wednesday, announcing that it will expel the Indian envoy and suspend trade in a deepening row over New Delhi's clampdown on disputed Kashmir.

India stripped the Himalayan region of its seven-decade-long semi-autonomous status on Monday through a contentious presidential decree, just hours after it imposed a crippling curfew on the picturesque valley.

READ: India abolishes Kashmir special status with rush decree

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Experts have predicted the move will trigger conflict with Pakistan, which has a competing claim to the Muslim-majority region, and reignite an insurgency that has already cost tens of thousands of lives.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir.

Delhi has insisted that the ending of semi-autonomy for the region is an internal matter.

But Islamabad has called for the international community to intervene and vowed to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council.

Source: Agencies

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