India, Pakistan call off Wagah border ritual after suicide bomb

Tuesday, 4 November 2014 00:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Suspected suicide bomber kills 45 on Pakistani-Indian border
Reuters: India and Pakistan have suspended a daily military ritual on their main land border crossing in Wagah after a suicide attack that killed dozens of people, the first time the colourful parade has been called off since the two countries went to war in 1971. India’s Home Ministry said India’s Border Security Force agreed to a Pakistani request to suspend the flag-lowering ceremony to allow mourning. At least 45 people were killed and more than 100 wounded on Sunday by the explosion that ripped through a carpark about 500 metres from Pakistan’s border gate just as hundreds of people left the popular daily performance. Every day, thousands of Indians and Pakistanis flock to watch the elaborate show where border security officials kick their feet high and grimace in mock aggression in a peacock-like display of patriotism. The crowds pack out bleachers set up on either side of each country’s border gates, which are adorned with large portraits of their founding fathers, Mahatma Gandhi on the Indian side and Mohammed Ali Jinnah on the Pakistani side. “It is the first time we have suspended the ceremony after the war. The ceremony was not suspended even during Kargil,” India’s Home Ministry Spokesman K.S. Dhatwalia said on Monday, referring to a 1999 conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours in the town of Kargil triggered by a Pakistan army incursion. India and Pakistan last fought a fully-fledged war in 1971, when Bangladesh seceded from Pakistan.