29 July, 2021

En Route To Dosti

En Route To Dosti
For someone who's been to India several times, a 13-hour bus journey from Lahore to Delhi shouldn't have held any real attraction. But the resumption of travel links between Pakistan and India after more than 18 months of tension and hostilities was a story impossible to ignore. So the moment the suggestion came that I be on the first bus that crosses the border at Wagah, I accepted it. Although the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation still insists on calling it the 'Dosti' (friendship) bus service, most people agree that its resumption is just a small first step in the complex process of normalising relations. But no one doubts its powerful symbolic significance, established initially by Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee's inaugural trip to Lahore on the first such bus in February 1999.

As it turned out, crossing the border into India by the first new bus was not just a great story for the hacks, even the genuine travellers knew they were making history. After all, for more than a year, the international border between the two countries had remained sealed off with troops and...

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