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Passengers a worried lot after Pak announces discontinuation of Thar Express

Press Trust of India  |  Jodhpur 

Roshan Bibi (51) from Ahmedabad was ecstatic to have attained the Indian citizenship after three decades of stay in the country around three months ago.

But all her delight disappeared when she heard that Pakistan has announced to discontinue Thar Express, a train that has been running between Jodhpur's Bhagat ki Kothi station to Karachi every Friday night since services resumed on February 18, 2006, after a 41-year suspension.

Amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, she is worried about her sick daughter Sana Yasser, who was married off seven years ago in Pakistan's Karachi.

"I am not sure whether I would be able to see her or not," said wailing Roshan Bibi, adding that the very first thing she did after obtaining the citizenship was to begin visa proceedings to visit her daughter in Pakistan.

"I was very happy to obtain the visa but this has shattered me," she said.

There are 143 passengers like her who are set to board Thar Express Friday night.

Condemning Pakistan, they said the relations between people of the two countries would take a hit with the discontinuation of the train.

Kaneeza Bi from Indore was also worried sitting amid a pile of 'mehar', which she had purchased for the wedding of her niece in Karachi.

"I spent a week in Delhi to get the visa and purchased gifts for my niece's wedding. I was very happy till yesterday. But today, I am not sure whether I would be able to attend the wedding or not," she said.

Kanwaria from Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan, who came to India to immerse ashes of his father into the Ganga with his family a month ago, too, wasn't sure of their return to Pakistan.

"I was happy to be here as I waited for six-long years to immerse ashes of my father into the Gnaga as per Hindu customs but now this has disturbed me," he said sitting in a corner of the Bhagat ki Kothi station with eight members of his family.

Meanwhile, Jodhpur division spokesperson Gopal Sharma said, "We have no information regarding the suspension of the train. It would be leaving on its scheduled time with 143 passengers, of which 107 are Indians and 36 Pakistani."

Since its resumption in 2006, Thar Express has been popular with people visiting families across the Rajasthan border, and for Pakistani Hindus who plan to migrate to India.

According to one estimate, over four lakh passengers have taken the train in the past 13 years.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 09 2019. 22:40 IST