Pakistan, India extend rail link agreement for three years

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    By Muhammad Luqman Thar Express will continue running between Pakistan’s border town of Khokhrapar to India’s MonaBao for another three years  as  Pakistan government on Tuesday announced extension in the the agreement with India for the rail link. The existing agreement was going to expire on January 31, 2018.. “Pakistan and India signed the agreement in 2006 to facilitate people to people contacts, which Pakistan believes is essential for improving relations between the two countries”, said a statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign office.. The rail agreement was originally signed in Islamabad on June 28, 1976—then an effort to normalize relations between the both countries in light of Simla Agreement (July 2, 1972). Following the rail agreement 1976, Islamabad and New Delhi started Samjhota Express (twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays) between  Lahore and New Delhi. It was the only rail service between the two countries until the reopening of Thar Express in 2006 which was halted after 1947. Thar Express connects Karachi to Jodhpur (India). Six kilometres apart, Munabao and Zero Point near Khokhrapar are the two last railway stations of the India-Pakistan border thus the train also called Munabao-Khoharapar train service. Prior to 1965 the last Pakistani station was Khokhrapar, about 10 km from the border. When the new service (Thar Express) was started in 2006 Pakistan constructed a new station called Zero Point a few hundred meters from the border. That is where the immigration and customs checks are carried out now. Thar train does not stop at Khokhrapar now. Before 1947, the Sind Mail used to travel to Ahmedabad from Karachi via Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Khokhrapar, Munabao, Barmer, Luni, Jodhpur, Pali, Marwar, Palanpur and Ahmedabad (India). The link was destroyed during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and revived on 18 February 2006.

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