07:10 GMT +321 November 2019
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    Punjab Police escort a Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation bus as it returns to Lahore without passengers, in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019.

    Last Transport Route Joining Pakistan to India Cut Over Kashmir Dispute

    © AP Photo / Prabhjot Gill
    Asia & Pacific
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    New Delhi has revoked article 370 of the constitution, which granted Jammu and Kashmir special status, and has introduced legislation to split the state in two, in a move condemned by Islamabad as illegal. The decision comes following a recent escalation of tensions that has resulted in exchanges of fire across the Line of Control

    Arshad Ali, a tourism officer at the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, said in an interview with Reuters that the so-called "friendship bus", a route linking the two countries since 1999, has also been suspended in accordance with recent Pakistani government directives. This means that the last transport link between the two states has also been cut off, after train and air transport lines were earlier suspended.

    "The operation will remain suspended till further decision", Arshad Ali said.

    The "friendship bus" travelled between Lahore in Pakistan and New Delhi six days a week and remained functioning most of the time, even during escalations of tensions on the border - including the one that took place in February, when the Pakistani Air Force downed an Indian jet.

    Islamabad started cutting transportation ties with India following the latter's decision to revoke article 370, which granted Jammu and Kashmir special status, also opting to divide the state into two separate ones. Pakistan slammed the move as illegal and downgraded its diplomatic ties with India, expelling Delhi's envoy to Islamabad and refusing to send a new ambassador to India.

    An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel patrol along a fence at the India-Pakistan border, at Wagah some 35kms from Amritsar, on December 18, 2018
    © AFP 2019 / NARINDER NANU
    An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel patrol along a fence at the India-Pakistan border, at Wagah some 35kms from Amritsar, on December 18, 2018

    Furthermore, Pakistan has restricted its civilian aircraft from entering Indian airspace and suspended all trade with India. Islamabad also suspended two train routes linking the two states, before cutting off train all connections with India on 9 August.

    New Delhi made decision to revoke article 370 in light of the recent escalation at the Line of Control, which has led to exchanges of fire, with both sides blaming each other for violating the recently negotiated ceasefire.


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