Munabao-Khokrapar rail link between India, Pak on track

New Delhi, Jan 5 | Updated: Jan 6 2006, 05:30am hrs
Having missed the January 1 deadline for opening of the Munnabao-Khokrapar rail link, officials from India and Pakistan met on Thursday and discussed the modalities for launching the second cross-border rail link.

The railway officials of the two countries met for nearly five hours on the first day of the two-day parleys, and were hopeful of finalising an agreement on Friday on opening the link between Munnabao in Rajasthan and Khokrapar in Sindh province of Pakistan.

Officials have indicated that a joint statement could be issued after the talks.

We hope to finalise the agreement. We have come with an open mind, leader of the Pakistan delegation Saleemur Rehman Akhund, general manager (operational), Pakistan railways.

Ashok Gupta, advisor traffic (Indian railways), is heading the Indian team at the talks, which are aimed at sorting out issues like fare, frequency, customs, security and stoppages of the train that will run between Rajasthan and Sindh in Pakistan.

This is another confidence-building measure and we will be discussing the draft proposal for the movement of passengers, Mr Akhund said.

After the talks between Prime minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf here in April last year, the two countries had set the deadline of January 1 for re-establishing the rail link after four decades.

The delegations of the two sides also include officials from ministries of external affairs, finance, home or internal security.

The visiting delegation also included Mohammad Saleem, deputy director, ministry of foreign affairs, Syed Ijaz Ali Gilani, minister of interior, Dr M Zubair Yousafani, additional commissioner, customs, and Muhammad Khalid Jamali, first secretary Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi.