ISLAMABAD/LAHORE :Pakistan and India on Monday decided to extend visas of stranded citizens by another week to facilitate them to return to their respective country after restoration of Samjhauta Train and Dosti Bus services. According to the Indian High Commission, the visas of those passengers traveling to India, and whose travel documents were going to expire shortly, had been extended until the Dosti Bus and Samjohota Express services were restored. According to sources at Pakistan’s interior ministry, visas of Pakistani passengers stranded in India had also been extended. FO Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria stated that the Samjhauta Express train and Dosti bus services were suspended, which had created problems for the Pakistanis who were currently in India and intended to return home. He said Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi was in touch with Indian authorities for the assistance of stranded Pakistanis. Railways spokesperson said that 72 passengers went back to their towns after New Delhi bound train was not allowed to leave Lahore Railways Station. “Around 12 Indian passengers and 60 Pakistanis traveled back to their cities. There is no passenger of Samjhauta Express now at Lahore Railways Station,” spokesperson told The Nation.

Sources said some two dozens passengers were due to leave for India on Dosti Bus Service.

The Dosti Bus Service travels between Lahore and Delhi via Wagha border three times a week. It was started in 1999. India’s former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had come to Pakistan using this service. The service has been suspended in the past as well due to unstable relations between Pakistan and India.

Samjhota Express makes two journeys between Lahore and Delhi in a week that is on Monday and Thursday. The train was started on 22 July 1976 following the Shimla Agreement.

Railways spokesperson said the exact time frame for the train departure could not be given so far.

“We cannot give exact timeframe for train’s departure to India.

Indians say they cannot accept the train due to riots in Haryana. We are waiting for Indian reply,” he said.