Bus and rail links between India and Pakistan are placed on high alert after intelligence warns terrorists could target Republic Day celebrations

  • Security on the Delhi-Lahore bus and Samjhauta Express has been beefed up
  • Sources say intelligence agencies believe Republic Day events could be at risk

In light of a perceived terrorism threat to the Delhi-Lahore bus and Samjhauta Express, security on both modes of transport to Pakistan has been beefed up.
Intelligence agencies warnings have put police in three states on high alert, with highly placed sources allegedly saying intelligence input has been received suggesting terrorists groups are planning to disrupt the Republic Day programme.  They may target the Samjhauta Express and Delhi-Lahore bus service, it was claimed, but officials refrained from commenting on the kind of threat feared.

However, keeping in view the threat and prevailing disturbances in the Kashmir Valley and the upcoming Republic Day, the Delhi-Lahore bus and Samjhauta Express train – which pass through at least three states – has been put on high alert.  Delhi-Lahore bus plies daily except Sunday from Delhi to Lahore, departing from Delhi at 6am and returning to Delhi around 6pm.

The Samjhauta Express train runs twice a week, departing from Old Delhi railway station at 11.10pm on Wednesday and Sunday and arrivinb at Old Delhi railway station at 3.20am on Tuesday and Friday. Delhi, Haryana and Punjab are therefore on alert and making arrangements for police focusing on the threat, including women security personnel.

The train service was set up with an agreement between India and Pakistan railways to alternately use an Indian and a Pakistani rake and locomotive for the train, six months at a time. The train usually has between four and eight coaches.  The train’s first break of service was when it was suspended on January 1, 2002 in after the terrorist attack on Parliament a few weeks earlier. Services resumed on January 15, 2004.

The service was also suspended following the December 27, 2007, assassination of Benazir Bhutto as a preventive measure to deny militants a ‘high-value target’ that was of great symbolic importance to both India and Pakistan.  On October 8, 2012, police recovered about 100 kg of heroin and more than 500 rounds of bullet ammunition at Wagah border on the train heading to Delhi.  The Delhi-Lahore bus is jointly operated by the Delhi Transport Corporation and the Pakistan Tourist Development Corporation.

The bus service is operated from Ambedkar Stadium Bus Terminal near Delhi Gate and the Lahore-Delhi Bus Terminal at Gulberg-III in Lahore.
Authorities on both sides maintain strict security screening of the passengers and the baggage. Hazardous materials are prohibited and valuables checked.

Customs and immigration checking are performed on arrival in the Pakistani town of Wagah and at the first stop in India at Amritsar.
Passengers are required to carry their passports, a valid visa and their travel tickets and check in two hours before departure.


News Source: www.dailymail.co.uk

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