The Thar Link Express, which carried 165 passengers from India to Pakistan at 1 p.m. on Saturday, returned to Munabao railway station carrying equal number of passengers from Pakistan at 5.40 p.m., confirmed Gopal Sharma, PRO, Jodhpur railway division.
After completing the customs formalities in Munabao, the transit point on the India-Pakistan border in Barmer district, the train shall reach Bhagat Ki Kothi railway station near Jodhpur soon, Sharma said.
The train from Karachi reached the Zero Point at 10 a.m. after leaving Pakistan on time on Friday night, a railway official said. After clearing customs facilities, it took off for Bhagat Ki Kothi and reached Munabao at 5.40 pm, he said.
Earlier on Friday, Pakistan Railway Minister Sheikh Raees Ahmed had announced the suspension of Thar Express, which connects India with Pakistan, in the wake of the rising tension between the two neighbouring nations over the abrogation of Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
However, railway officials in Jodhpur said on Friday that the train service shall continue from the Indian side.
Thar Link Express is the Indian part of Thar Express which runs once a week between Jodhpur and Munabao. Passengers from Munabao then clear customs and are transported across the border to the Zero Point station from where the Thar Express takes them to Karachi.
A total of 165 passengers travelled in the train from India to Pakistan on Saturday, out of which 84 were Pakistani citizens, while 81 were Indians travelling to meet their relatives across the border, a railway official said. Seventeen passengers had cancelled their tickets due to the confusion over the running of the train.
After leaving the Bhagat Ki Kothi railway station at its scheduled time, the train reached Munabao at 6.55 a.m. on Saturday. After completing the customs formalities, the train left from Munabao at 3.10 p.m. for the Zero Point in Pakistan.