Islamabad: A day after deciding to downgrade ties with India, Pakistan on Thursday stepped up its offensive by suspendikng the Samjhauta Express train that runs between the two countries and banning Indian films.
Pakistan will not remain silent regarding the 'Indian atrocities' in Jammu and Kashmir, Minister of Railways, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad told a press conference today adding that the services of Samjhauta Express, facilitating people-to-people ties with India, would be suspended "forever".
"The Indian government has changed all laws in Jammu and Kashmir. The entire history has been changed. They have also revoked the Articles that provided special rights and status to the people in that region. But we won't remain silent. Our Muslim brethren in Jammu and Kashmir are suffering," he said.
"Following the tension between India and Pakistan, all services of Samjhauta Express will be suspended forever," he added. Meanwhile, speaking to the media outside Parliament House, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan, said no Indian movie will be screened in Pakistani cinema.
She said a policy is being formulated to ban every sort of Indian cultural content in Pakistan, Dunya News reported. Awan said that there is a complete ban on media and other sources of information in Kashmir.
The moves by Islamabad comes in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35 (A) by the BJP-led Central government that provided special rights and status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Last night after a meeting of the National Security Council chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan decided to downgrade diplomatic ties. It asked India to withdraw its High Commissioner to Pakistan and also decided not to send its High Commissioner-designate to New Delhi. It also partially shut off its airspace and suspended bilateral trade with India.
The Samjhauta Express, commonly called the Friendship Express, is a bi-weekly train--Thursday and Monday--that runs between Delhi and Attari in India and Lahore in Pakistan since 1976 after the Shimla Accord between the two countries. The word Samjhauta means "agreement", "accord" and "compromise" in both Hindi and Urdu.
Last time, the operations of Samjhauta Express were suspended on February 28, following the Pulwama terror attack that was carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed or JeM that killed more than 40 CRPF jawans on February 14. But it was resumed shortly later.
Calling its steps in Jammu and Kashmir as an "entirely internal affair", India has further rejected Pakistan's unilateral move to downgrade diplomatic ties and asked Islamabad to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved.