IB and RAW officials assigned Samjhota security
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: Officials from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) will keep a close eye on the Samjhota Express scheduled to resume service from January 15.
Sources said the Indian government had decided to remove Punjab Police from the checking of passengers after reports of smuggling of goods, counterfeit currency and drugs such as ganja and charas.
The Intelligence Bureau will now handle the security operations and Punjab Police will assist the BSF in patrolling the route. The train will now stop only at the Ambala station for 15 minutes during which time security will be on high alert. Passengers from Pakistan will be searched for drugs which originate from Afghanistan. The Indian officials will also try to stop the smuggling of liquor and paan into Pakistan. A four-km strip near the Pakistani border has been fenced to stop passengers jumping out of the train with their smuggled goods.
“The only problem which remains is the violation of visa restrictions. Anyone overstaying in India will be booked under the Foreigners Act, which could sentence them to one year in jail,” sources said.
Pakistan invites India to renew Delhi-Lahore bus pact: Pakistan on Friday invited India to hold a meeting in Islamabad for the renewal of the Delhi-Lahore bus agreement between the two countries, APP reported. According to Pakistan High Commission sources, the 5-year agreement, signed by New Delhi and Islamabad for five years in February, 1999, is due to expire in February 2004.
The Pakistan High Commission formally invited to the Indian External Affairs Ministry to send a delegation next month to discuss renewing the agreement.