26 Godhra residents stranded in Karachi return to India
Godhra (Guj): Held up in Karachi after suspension of the Samjhauta Express and Thar Express, 26 Muslim residents from Godhra in Gujarat returned to India on Saturday via the Wagah border, their relatives said here.
Around 50 people including children and women from Godhra in Panchmahal district of Gujarat had to extend their stay in Karachi in Pakistan by around two weeks due to the suspension of train link between the two countries.
Pakistan suspended the two trains amid rising tensions following the withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status by the Indian government on August 5.
The visitors from Godhra had month-long tourist visa to stay in Karachi, which was extended by the Pakistani authorities for fifteen days after the train services were suspended, said Anas Holiya, a local resident, here.
Holiya’s parents were supposed to board the Thar Express for return journey on August 16.
On Saturday morning, a group of 26 persons arrived at Wagah border via Lahore and proceeded to Amritsar where they will board the Golden Temple Mail to return to Godhra, said Saleem Murshad, a Pakistani national who is associated with the Karachi Chamber of Commerce.
The remaining people would take the same route over the next two-three days, he said over phone.
Holiya said his parents were expected to reach Amritsar on Monday.
“They had gone to Karachi to meet our relatives on July 25, and were scheduled to return on August 16. Their tickets were booked on the Thar Express,” he said.
A large number of Muslims from Godhra visit Karachi every year to meet their relatives. There is even a `Godhra Colony’ in Karachi.
Their preferred mode of travel is the Thar Express which runs between Jodhpur and Munabao on Indo-Pak border in Barmer district of Rajasthan and from there to Karachi.