ISLAMABAD: Despite tense ties with New Delhi due to frequent ceasefire violations on the Line of Control and Working Boundary, Pakistan on Tuesday gave its consent for a three-year extension to an agreement with India on Munabao-Khokhrapar rail link.

“The government of Pakistan has agreed to extend the agreement of the rail link between Munabao (India)and Khokhrapar (Pakistan) for another three years,” a Foreign Office statement said.

The extension will take effect from Feb 1, 2018.

The rail link facilitates people-to-people contact that Pakistan believes is essential for improving relations between the two countries, the FO said.

The signing of the rail link agreement in 2006 had restored the route after 41 years. The connection substantially reduced travel time between Sindh (Pakistan) and central and southern Indian states.

Over 200 ceasefire violations by India have taken place so far this year, resulting in the killing of 12 people, including four soldiers. Since 2003, the highest number of ceasefire violations by India (1,881) was recorded last year with 87 killings. Earlier this month, Indian army chief Gen Bipin Rawat had admitted that his troops were deliberately targeting Pakistani posts.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2018

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