B. Muralidhar Reddy

The Munabao-Khokrapar route will reduce travel time for many

Beneficial to people wanting to travel to or from south Pakistan Opening of Indian and Pakistani consulates in Karachi and Mumbai delayed

ISLAMABAD: The Munabao-Khokrapar rail route linking Sindh to Rajasthan would open by the middle of January.

Pakistan Railways Minister Mian Shamim Haider told the upper house of Parliament on Saturday that preparations were in full swing to make the second rail link between Pakistan and India operational.

Mr. Haider said the new train would reduce travel time for passengers who want to travel to or from southern Pakistan, as compared to the present arrangements through the Wagah border.

In the aftermath of the revived dialogue process since January 2004, India and Pakistan agreed to re-open the rail link that was shut down after the 1965 war.

Opening of consulates

However, the opening of the Indian and Pakistani consulates in Karachi and Mumbai respectively is likely to be delayed for the next few weeks. India is ready to open the consulate from January 1, but Pakistan is insisting on a simultaneous start of operations.

With the construction of a new building for its consulate in Mumbai at a site given by the Government still pending, Pakistan has rented a place in a residential complex.

Residents object

However, residents there have raised objections to the possible location of the consulate.

Efforts are under way to sort out the issues raised by the people of the complex, particularly related to visa seekers thronging the place.

Authorities are hopeful of an alternative arrangement at the earliest.