Cheers for Samjhauta Express from Pakistan

28 Sep 2016 | By Supriya Kaur

The Samjhauta Express arrived from Lahore, Pakistan at the Old Delhi Railway station in the early hours of Tuesday.

There were a total of 184 passengers on board the train; 84 Pakistanis and the remaining were Indians.

The bi-weekly train was awaited and received with much joy by many whose relatives were travelling back from Pakistan; simmering hostilities between both countries have many worried.

In context: Samjhauta Express: A bright spot in the bleakness

HistoryThe Samjhauta Express

The Samjhauta Express is commonly referred to as 'The Friend Express'.

The train was an outcome of the Simla Agreement, signed between India-Pakistan in 1972.

It made its maiden trip on September 22, 1975, 41 years ago. Initially a daily train, in 1994, it became a bi-weekly one.

It runs on Tuesdays and Fridays, between Delhi and Attari in India and Lahore in Pakistan.

Hitting lowsSamjhauta Express: Bridge between two countries

In over forty-years of plying between India and Pakistan, the Samjhauta Express has been discontinued only twice in four decades.

Its longest suspension came after the Parliament attack in 2001 but was restarted in 2004; it was again discontinued following Pakistan PM Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

In February 2007, the train was the target of horrific twin-blasts that killed 68 people, most of them Pakistanis.

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Other Indo-Pak bridges holding steady

Connecting peopleOther Indo-Pak bridges holding steady

In 1999, the Delhi-Lahore bus was started with PM AB Vajpayee travelling on its maiden trip. It operates 6-days a week.

In 2005, Cross-LoC bus started on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route and runs weekly.

In 2006, the bi-weekly "Dosti" Amritsar-Lahore bus was started. There's also a bus from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib.

In 2006, a weekly Thar Express was started to connect Karachi to Jodhpur.

Millions of Muslims and Sikh travellers

It's estimated that over 1 crore Muslims have travelled on the Samjhauta Express. A large number of Sikhs have also travelled on this train to visit the historic Dehra Sahib and Panja Sahib Gurdwaras in Pakistan.

28 Sep 2016Cheers for Samjhauta Express from Pakistan

Voice of ordinary people

Delhi resident Mohammad Aqueel, 68-years-old, who returned from Karachi had managed to get a month long visa extension despite the escalating tension. He said, "Ordinary people do not want war. For us, Pakistan is like our own home, since our brother lives there."