Pakistan-India train service resumes as border tensions ease

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – A key train service with neighbouring India resumed and schools in Pakistani Kashmir opened on Monday in another sign of easing tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals since a major escalation last week over the disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistan Railways spokesman Ejaz Shah said the train service, known as the Samjhauta Express, left the eastern city of Lahore for India’s border town of Atari, with some 180 passengers on board.

Pakistan suspended the train service last week as tensions escalated following India’s airstrike on Tuesday inside Pakistan. India said it targetted militants behind a February 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops.

Pakistan retaliated, shooting down a fighter jet the next day and detaining its pilot, who was returned to India two days later.

On Monday, schools in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir opened after seven days of closure amid the heightened tensions.

Raja Jaleel, head teacher at a secondary school in Chakothi, which is close to the Line of Control border in the disputed region, said classes resumed but attendance was thin.

He lauded the courage of the students who attended, as many of the area’s parents are keeping their children home for their safety.

“We have started our day with prayers for peace,” said the head teacher, adding that the students also chanted slogans in support of the army.