ISLAMABAD: Indian national Reshma entered Pakistan on-board Thar Express to meet her Pakistani grandchildren but her son returned to their ancestral abode in Rajashthan, India escorting his dead mother on Rangers’ shoulders via Khokhrapar border, where gates were briefly opened after 12 years of closure only to facilitate this rare passage.
In a rare episode in the tense Indo-Pak relations, gates of the Khokhrapar-Munabao border were opened to take the body of a Muslim woman to India who had died in Pakistan on July 25.
Reshma, a resident of Agasadi village in Barmer district, along with her son Saheb came to Pakistan on June 30 to meet her family in Sanghar. She was scheduled to return to India on July 28 but she fell ill, eventually passing away on July 25. Her family then wanted to bury her in her hometown in Rajasthan, but got entangled in formalities and missed the weekly train, Thar express.
However, even after gaining permission to travel, the next big challenge was to have the border gates opened, an occurrence that has only happened more than a decade ago in 2006 after the 1965 war. The border at Khokhrapar-Munabao was opened in 2006 for some Hindu pilgrims who had wanted to visit Mata Temple in Lasbela, Balochistan and since then the border has remained closed with the Thar Express being the sole means of transportation between the two rival countries.
Subsequently, on Tuesday the Khokhrapar-Munabao border was opened to allow the mortal remains of the deceased to be taken to her ancestral abode after an agreement between the two countries. The Pakistan rangers handed over Reshma’s body to the Border Security Force (BSF) at the Indo-Pak border as Saheb Khan returned home with his mother’s corpse.
Member Legislative Assembly (MLA) Manvendra Singh who played a pivotal role in this connection informed The Express Tribune on Sunday that he is thankful to governments of both Pakistan and India for opening border for the sake of humanity.
Nobody is allowed to walk to zero line to cross the border of Khokhrapar-Munabao contrary to set tradition at the Wagah border. At Wagah citizens may walk to cross the border on foot to get into the territory of any of these countries.
After learning of the tragedy and request of the affected family, the MLA from Sheo (Barmer) Manvendra Singh raised the issue with the Indian authorities and finally both countries agreed to open the border on humanitarian grounds for repatriation of the deceased woman.
Singh said both Pakistan and India for the convenience of their citizens should treat border of Khokhrapar-Munabao on the same pattern as the Wagah. He said this step would not only be helpful for mobility of citizens but would also help strengthen trade relations between the two countries.
According to him, “people on both sides of this border have deep relations with one another and they face a lot of difficulties in getting visas besides issues in terms of transportation.”
Meanwhile, political analyst Tahir Malik believes this rare occurrence may prove a melting point of tensions between the two adversaries. He said both countries are so close in social ties yet politics, bureaucratic hurdles and red tape have divided them for which humanity suffers.