KARACHI, Feb 17: A second rail link between Pakistan and India was restored on Friday when the first train carrying 200 passengers left here for India through Khokhrapar border.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan bade farewell to Thar Express which was tastefully decorated with colour buntings and banners.
Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Railway Minister Shamim Haider, State Minister for Railways Ishaq Khakwani, Karachi Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal, Sindh Assembly speaker Muzaffar Hussain Shah, provincial ministers and officials also attended the departure ceremony.
Talking to journalists, the governor and chief minister described the restoration of the Khokhrapar-Munabao rail link as a landmark and historic achievement.
They said the opening of the Khokhrapar border would enable people of the two countries to come closer.
In reply to a question, the governor said he would speak to the foreign office to advocate issuance of visas on the country-to-country basis.
The chief minister said that the revival of rail link would promote relations between the two countries and help resolve the outstanding issues.
Earlier, addressing the departure ceremony, deputy convenor of MQM Rabita Committee Dr Farooq Sattar said the train would serve as a bridge for consolidation of deepening friendship between the two countries.
Thousands of people had thronged the station to bid farewell to the train.
In his speech, the Karachi nazim expressed the hope that the link would become a source of increasing trade between the two countries. Thar Express, he added, would open up new vistas of progress and prosperity.
He pointed out that local people faced difficulty in travelling to India via Wagah but now they would be spared of a long and arduous journey and additional expenditure as they would reach India in a shorter time through Thar Express.
Through Thar Express, he said, people belonging to poor class were travelling.—APP