The bus service between Lahore and Delhi has been suspended following the scrapping of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave special powers to Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan has now stopped both rail and road services. While Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation bus left Delhi for Lahore with four passengers at 6am on Thursday but the latest development on Friday suggests that the services have now been suspended.
The service was first started in February 1999 but suspended after the 2001 Parliament attack. It was restarted in July 2003. The Delhi–Lahore Bus, formally known as Sada-e-Sarhad started on 19 February 1999 by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The Routemaster transport number 10 was of emblematic significance to the endeavors of the legislatures of the two countries to cultivate serene and neighborly relations.
Meanwhile, on Thursday evening, a bus carrying three passengers from Lahore reached Delhi. DTC managing director Manoj Kumar told PTI on Thursday, "We do not have any information so far," when asked if the services would be suspended.
The international bus service is operated from Ambedkar Stadium terminal near Delhi Gate. DTC buses ply every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 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 on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The bus service had continued with a depleted number of passengers even when bilateral relations had worsened following the Pulwama terrorist attack and Balakot surgical strikes in February this year.
The Narendra Modi government on August 5 revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Both the upper house and the lower house of the Parliament approved the resolution abrogating Article 370 for J&K and a bill to bifurcate the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, with Home Minister Amit Shah saying the controversial provisions were responsible for poverty and lack of development in the state. Ministry of External Affairs also briefed the envoys of the P5 nations -- the US, the UK, China, France and Russia -- about Indian government's decision to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two union territories.
(With inputs from PTI)