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Indian visitors rushing back home from Pakistan

world Updated: Dec 28, 2008 15:03 IST

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Expressing disappointment at the deteriorating ties between the two countries after the Mumbai attacks, Indians visiting Pakistan are rushing back home well before their visas expire.

One such person who changed her plans was Indian national Haleema, who travelled to Pakistan by the Thar Express train to meet her brother living in Karachi after a gap of 45 years.

"I wanted to see my brother before I died and the Thar Express provided me the chance to do that. I wanted to stay here for at least two months and spend time with my brother's family but now I have to leave," she told the Daily Times, bursting into tears.

Several other Indians who travelled to Sindh by the Thar Express to visit relatives in Pakistan are making their way back home well before their visas expire because of tensions in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, which India has blamed on the Pakistan-based elements like the Lashkar-e-Toiba terror group.

Some Pakistani families have already cancelled plans to travel to India.

Farzana, a resident of Korangi in Karachi, was born in Uttar Pradesh. She married a Pakistani relative 15 years ago and wanted to visit her birthplace along with her mother who was also in this country.

However, the tensions between the two countries forced her to reconsider her travel plans and she has cancelled her tickets.

"I had planned on going to Uttar Pradesh to visit my birthplace with my mother but my husband is not allowing me to go in view of the current situation," said a visibly disappointed Farzana.

The situation may have forced Farzana to cancel her plans of travelling to India but her mother remained adamant on going to the neighbouring country.

"My mother refused to cancel the tickets, she says that she's on her deathbed and wants to see her relatives before she dies," Farzana said as she saw off her mother at the Cantonment railway station in Karachi.

Farzana's mother was not the only one. Several other families came to the railway station to board the Thar Express on Friday. Their relatives, who gathered to see them off, had tears in their eyes as the uncertainty of their return played on their minds.

Many people expressed disappointment at the worsening of ties between India and Pakistan.

"The people of both countries are against war. I have been to India twice and people there treat me with respect," said Amjad Ali Khan, a resident of Karachi, before leaving for India with his younger brother.