THE reopening of the Indian consulate in Karachi should have been a condition precedent to the reopening of the Khokrapar-Munabao train link with India because it is terribly time-consuming, expensive and inconvenient for the people of Karachi and elsewhere from Sindh to travel to Islamabad for obtaining visas.
They have been facing this ordeal ever since 1967 when the Lahore-Amritsar rail link was reopened and the Khokrapar- Munabao rail link was ignored for reasons not yet known to the public.
Now, with the reopening of the Khokrapar-Munabao rail link on Feb 18 this year, the urgency of reopening the Indian consulate has become all the more pressing.
The bulk of Pakistan-India passengers is from Karachi and other parts of Sindh and it is only just that the Indian consulate should have been made functional in Karachi at least simultaneously with, if not before, the reopening of the rail link.
Those who are financially well-off had never felt the pinch of the persistent closure of the Khokrapar-Munabao rail link because they could, and did, go via the Lahore- Amritsar route or by air.
Even during the days when all means of transport were closed and the borders with India were lying sealed, the rich had no problem in going to India via Dubai.
The only hitch in the re-opening of the Indian consulate in Karachi is that Pakistan is still searching for a building for its consulate in Bombay. According to rules, both the consulates should open simultaneously, and their re-opening may be expedited.