Attari: The newly constructed integrated check post (ICP) at Attari, along the international border between India and Pakistan Sunday saw a soft launch prior to its formal inauguration on Friday (April 13).
During the soft launch, people travelling from Pakistan were picked up by special buses on the Indian side from the zero line and brought to the newly constructed passenger terminal, where they went through the customs and immigration procedures.
The soft launch took place on a day when the political leadership of India and Pakistan were breaking the ice during the one-day visit of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to New Delhi and Ajmer.
Zardari, who was on a private visit to offer prayers at the shrine of Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti at Ajmer Sharif, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Sunday afternoon over lunch.
Customs Deputy Commissioner RK Duggal said that during the soft launch passengers were allowed at the new terminal. He added that the trial run for cargo would be done at the new cargo terminal Monday.
Among the people who experienced the new ICP facility Sunday was a 32-member delegation of the Faislabad chamber of commerce and industry who crossed over into India.
Appreciating the new facility, chamber Chairman Jamail Ahmed said that the new facility will help boost trade through the land route between both countries.
The trade between both sides is nearly $2.5bn, but is expected to go up by 4-5 times with Pakistan initiating the process to declare most favoured nation (MFN) status to India for trade.
Union Home minister P Chidambaram will formally inaugurate the ICP here on Friday.