In the conflict in Kashmir, Pakistan cuts railway lines to India

People chant slogans at a solidarity rally with the Kashmiri people in Lahore, Pakistan on August 6, 2019. REUTERS / Mohsin Raza TPX PICTURES OF THE DAY

Islamabad / New Delhi ( – Pakistan is breaking off its rail link with its neighboring country in the dispute with India over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

"We have decided to end the Samjhauta Express," Pakistani Railway Minister Sheikh Rasheed told IRIN on Thursday. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi reiterated that his country would not go to war. "But do not we have the right to react in case of aggression?" The conflict between India and Pakistan, which has been smoldering for decades and is endowed with nuclear weapons, has intensified dramatically in recent days. India has decided to deprive Kashmir of its privileged rights and to integrate the predominantly Muslim region into predominantly Hindu India. In protest, Pakistan has announced that it will expel the Indian ambassador. India has called on the neighboring country to reconsider this decision.

"As long as I'm a minister of railways, the Samjhauta Express can not drive," Rasheed said at a press conference in the capital. This not only important but also symbolic route links the East Pakistani metropolis, Lahore, to New Delhi, the Indian capital. The Friendship Express had only resumed operations in March. It was briefly abandoned after India claimed to have attacked a terrorist camp in Pakistan.

In the aftermath of the recent escalation, Pakistan has already announced that it would suspend its trade with its rival and expel the ambassador of India to Islamabad. Pakistan does not want to send its new ambassador to New Delhi. The Indian Foreign Ministry said Pakistan should rethink the eviction. The usual channels of diplomatic communication must be preserved.

India and Pakistan have been fighting for decades for complete control of the Himalayan region of Kashmir. Since their independence from Britain in 1947, they have fought Kashmir three times. A few months ago, India launched attacks on Pakistani territory for the first time since the war in 1971.


Until now, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the province of Jammu, had the right to adopt its own laws. This constitutional provision has now been lifted. According to India, this special status would hinder the development of Kashmir. The region, where Muslims live mainly, must now be integrated into the predominantly Hindu country. Pakistan, which is Muslim, considers this attack illegal. China, which also claims part of Kashmir, protested.

According to Indian police, in order to crack down on protests in Kashmir, at least 300 politicians and separatists have been arrested. Many of them work for a Kashmir detachment from India. Since Sunday, mobile networks, television and the Internet have been interrupted in the region. Public meetings were prohibited. Thousands of paramilitary policemen were concentrated in Srinagar, the largest city in the country. There, the schools are closed, the streets and neighborhoods have been closed. According to police sources, demonstrations have already taken place.

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