Shayan, meanwhile, was surrounded by several cousins who had come to greet him. “Back home, among friends, the buzz word is brotherhood. There’s no animosity whatsoever against India. We have shared heroes in cricket — I like Shahid Afridi as much as I like MS Dhoni,” he said.
His cousin Uzair Khan (28) rued how the “entire kaum (community) is tarred for acts committed by delinquent individuals”. “Aap ye batao, India mein Pakistan sezyada Musalman hain ya nahi? We love our country. Toh ye sab sawaalbaarbaarkyunuthta hai?” Uzair said.
Mohammed Zaki, who had gone to visit his wife in Pakistan, said he has gathered from visits that “unlike what is shown to us on channels”, Pakistani people want to explore India, but are “suspicious of government agencies in both countries”.
“It is not as if India is all they talk about. People are busy leading their lives, just as we are in India. I can vouch for that after having spent two months in Multan,” Rabiya, a housewife from Meerut, said. She was travelling with her husband, Mohammed Chaman.
The Samjhauta Express, a bi-weekly special train operational since 1976, has made two trips to Delhi since the Pulwama attack. The service was suspended for two years, between 2002 and 2004, after the Parliament attack. On February 18, 2007, at least 68 people were killed after a blast, near Panipat, ripped through the train, which was on its way to Lahore.
On Tuesday, neither the twelfth anniversary of the blast nor the Pulwama attack were talking points on platform 1, which had no security presence. However, there were hushed apprehensions and grievances.
(The featured image at the top shows the Samjhauta Express from Lahore arriving in Delhi from Lahore in Pakistan on Tuesday)