India, Pakistan review Ajmer Sharif rail link

New Delhi, January 17:

India and Pakistan discussed a proposal to extend the Munabao-Khokhrapar rail link to Ajmer Sharif, an important Sufi shrine that is visited by lots of Pakistanis, as they began their two-day talks Tuesday on confidence-building and resolving the Kashmir issue.

The Indian side headed by Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and the Pakistani side led by his counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan reviewed the progress made during the last two rounds of the dialogue at Hyderabad House and discussed various confidence-building measures today.

This is the beginning of the third round of composite dialogue between the two countries that deals with Jammu and Kashmir and peace and security. The Indian side raised the issue of cross-border terror and asked the Pakistan side to honour its commitment not to allow the territory controlled by it to be used for anti-India terror, sources said. The two sides will discuss the proposal to extend the Munabao-Khokhrapar rail to facilitate the flow of pilgrims from across the border during the talks.

The cross-border train, christened the Thar Express, will link Munabao in India to Khokhrapar in Pakistan and is expected to start February 1. If this proposal is accepted, the train will link Pakistan to Ajmeri Sharif — the dargah (mausoleum) of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisti, a sufi saint. The shrine attracts Muslim pilgrims from all over the world, especially from across the border.