Recently, Pakistani nationals who came to Rajasthan's Barmer from the Atari border in Punjab were seen arguing in favour of the resumption of the Thar Express services

Despite the barbed wire fence along the border of Pakistan’s Sindh province with India, movement between the two countries was possible due to the operation of the Thar Express, allowing people separated by partition to be reunited. However, the closure of this caravan of peace for the last three years due to tensions between the two neighbouring countries in 2019 has brought immense displeasure among thousands of people from both sides.

Recently, Pakistani nationals who came to Rajasthan’s Barmer via the Atari border in Punjab were seen arguing in favour of the resumption of the Thar Express services.

A group of seven people, including Prahlad Ram from Umerkot, Dr Ashok and Hemant Chadnani from Tharparkar reached Barmer from Pakistan after a three-day journey to attend the mourning rituals of a relative.

They said the Thar Express helped them to travel easily to India but now visiting their relatives in India has become expensive, difficult and time taking due to issues with availing visas.

Thousands of families living in Sindh province who have relatives in Rajasthan are facing difficulties in meeting their relatives and keeping in contact with them. This is the main reason that they are now demanding the resumption of the Thar Express.

The train service between Jodhpur and Karachi was discontinued during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war. Damages to the rail tracks further disrupted the train services. However, after 41 years, the train resumed its operation on February 18, 2006. The train service again stopped on August 11, 2019, due to the deterioration of ties between the two countries. More than four lakh people have travelled across the border via the Thar Express.

The Thar Express left for Pakistan on its last trip on August 9, 2019, and returned to India a few days later on August 11. After India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019, protests against the move in Pakistan were followed by criticism by India and the last train service running between the two countries came to a grinding halt.