Delhi–Lahore Bus


Delhi–Lahore Bus

The Delhi–Lahore Bus, officially known as Sada-e-Sarhad (Urdu: صداِ سرحد, Hindi: सदा ए सरहद, translation: Call of the Frontier),[1] is a passenger bus service connecting the Indian capital of Delhi with the city of Lahore, Pakistan via the border transit post at Wagah. The bus was of symbolic importance to the efforts of the governments of both nations to foster peaceful and friendly relations.[2] In its inaugural run on February 19, 1999, the bus carried the then-Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was to attend a summit in Lahore and was received by his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif at Wagah.[2][1]

Officially launching its services on March 16, the bus service was not halted even after the outbreak of the Kargil War.[3] The bus service was halted in the aftermath of the 2001 Indian Parliament attack, which led to a serious confrontation between the two neighbours.[4]

Contents

Launching of the bus service

Since the partition of India in 1947, travel restrictions were imposed and most road and railway links shut off. Following the example of the Samjhauta Express that was launched in 1976, the bus service was launched to permit divided families to visit relatives and to foster commerce and tourism.[5] The bus service launch was a key element in the efforts of the Indian and Pakistani governments to improve frosty and tense relations with Pakistan, especially in the aftermath of the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests and the immediate Pakistani response of the Chaghai Hills tests. The bus had made its trial runs on January 8 and January 14, carrying officials of both governments.[3] Vajpayee's bus journey and arrival in Pakistan was met with much fanfare on both sides of the border and worldwide media coverage.[6] The inaugural bus also carried Indian celebrities and dignitaries such as Dev Anand, Satish Gujral, Javed Akhtar, Kuldip Nayar, Kapil Dev, Shatrughan Sinha and Mallika Sarabhai.[7] Both governments soon promulgated the 1999 Lahore Declaration, which pledged both nations to the peaceful resolution of bilateral disputes, especially that of the Kashmir conflict and deployment of nuclear weapons, while fostering friendly commercial and cultural relations.[6]

Suspension

While the bus service had continued to run during the Kargil War of 1999, it was suspended in the aftermath of the 2001 Indian Parliament attack on December 13, 2001,[1][4] which the Indian government accused Pakistan of instigating.[8] The bus service was resumed on July 16, 2003 when bilateral relations had improved.[1]

Travel significance

Despite suspension due to bilateral tensions, the Delhi-Lahore bus remains a symbol of desired friendship between the two nations.[5][3] Since its inception, the bus has frequently carried trade delegations, diplomats and celebrities to both nations, attracting much media coverage. In lieu of the Indian national cricket team's tour of Pakistan in 2004, the Pakistani government permitted 10,000 Indians to travel to watch the cricket matches in Lahore; many of whom travelled via the bus amidst great fanfare at the border; the gesture was reciprocated the following year when the Pakistan national cricket team toured India.

Bus service details

The Delhi-Lahore bus is jointly operated by the Delhi Transport Corporation and the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation. The DTC offers the bus service on Tuesdays and Fridays, leaving from the Dr. Ambedkar Terminal at Delhi Gate and the PTDC offers the service every Wednesdays and Fridays.[9] The DTC operates the bus for return trips on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the PTDC on Tuesdays and Fridays. Fare for adults is INR 1500, and for minors, INR 833. Children under age of 2 travel free.[9] The PTDC charges Rs. 2000 for adults and it starts journey from PTDC LDBS Terminal in Lahore located at 66-D/1 Gulberg-III, near Liberty Market (Tel:042-5755940 & 5875359)

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 Kartarpur.[9] Passengers are required to carry their passports, a valid visa and their travel tickets and check in 2 hours before departure. The loss of tickets are to be reported to the police authorities.[9]

The bus stops for meals and refreshment at Wagah and at the towns of Pipli (A small town on outskirts of Kurukshetra), Sirhind and Kartarpur in India. The duration of the entire journey is 8 hours, covering a distance of 530 km (329 mi). The bus is air-conditioned and carries on-board entertainment such as film shows, video and music players as well as a mobile telephone service.[9][2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Delhi-Lahore bus leaves for Pak". rediff.com (Rediff.com India limited). February 20, 2007. http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/feb/20samblast2.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  2. ^ a b c "Delhi-Lahore bus service to start on March 16". expressindia.com (The Indian Express). March 13, 1999. http://www.expressindia.com/news/ie/daily/19990313/ige13109.html. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  3. ^ a b c Bains, Satinder (June 4, 1999). "Kargil flare-up no damper on `goodwill bus'". expressindia.com (The Indian Express). http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/ie/daily/19990604/ige04013.html. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  4. ^ a b Sen, Ayanjit (28 December 2001). "India-Pakistan buses close down". BBC News (BBC). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1731919.stm. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  5. ^ a b Peer, Basharat (July 14, 2001). "Delhi-Lahore bus: A symbol of peace". rediff.com (Rediff.com India limited). http://www.rediff.com/news/2001/jul/14inpak34.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  6. ^ a b Malhotra, Jyoti (February 4, 1999). "Vajpayee to take bus to Pak". expressindia.com (The Indian Express). http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/ie/daily/19990204/ipo04061.html. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  7. ^ Vajpayee drives across the border into Pakistan and history
  8. ^ Arundhati, Roy (December 15, 2006). "India's shame". guardian.co.uk (Guardian News and Media Limited). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/dec/15/india.kashmir. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "DTC’s Delhi-Lahore-Delhi Bus Service". Delhi Transport Corporation. http://dtc.nic.in/lahorebus.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 

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