Powers Larger Than Government Pushing Kartarpur, Say Sources On Pakistan Video


Kartarpur Corridor will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Indian side

New Delhi: 

A Pakistani video on the Kartarpur corridor showing a poster of three Khalistani separatists with “Khalistan 2020” written on it has raised concerns in India. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said Pakistan has a hidden agenda behind the opening of the Kartarpur corridor and that India “will have to be careful”.

Indicating the hand of the Pakistani Army, government sources said, “Powers larger than the civil government of Pakistan are pushing the project.” India is aware of the duality but has gone ahead with the project keeping in mind the faith of pilgrims.

The Kartarpur Corridor will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Indian side on Friday. The four-minute video clip, released by Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Monday, shows Sikh pilgrims visiting a gurdwara in Pakistan with a poster of Khalistan separatists Bhindranwale,  Shabeg Singh and Amrik Singh Khalsa in the backdrop. The three separatists were killed during Indian Army’s Operation Blue Star in Amritsar in June 1984.

“Publicly they (Pakistan) say peace, people to People contact and minorities, but what Pakistan wants is greater leverage on the issue of Khalistan and a 20-20 referendum on it,” sources say.


Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has also warned about Pakistan’s game plan

Citing Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comment that Sikh pilgrims would not require passports to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, the sources said there is a plan to drive a wedge between Sikh and Hindu pilgrims, which will push their plans of leveraging on Khalistan.

Sources said India, which initiated the corridor in “good faith”, had concerns at what Pakistan was attempting. “But we see a larger objective – of all pilgrims who want to go,” the sources said.

“There are reports of sporadic separatist activities in gurdwaras across the border,” government sources said. The mater has been raised with Pakistan. There is a clause in the agreement between India and Pakistan that in case of any exigency, the corridor can be suspended. “Such places will be closely watched,” sources said.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also warned about Pakistan’s game plan when asked about the video today. “Since Day One, I have been warning about Pakistan’s hidden agenda,” the 77-year-old Congress leader told reporters. “On one side, they (Pakistan) show love… but on the other side, they may try to create trouble. We have to be very careful,” he said.

Mr Singh had warned earlier that Islamabad could misuse the Kartarpur Corridor to “revive Sikh militancy” in the state.

Last year, Pakistan said it would open Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur – one of the holiest shrines of the Sikhs – to pilgrims from India. The shrine had been closed to Indian pilgrims after the surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control. It was also decided to build the proposed corridor connecting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib to Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.

Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, had spent more than 18 years at Gurdwara Kartarpur, located on the banks of the river Ravi. Last November, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu had laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.

“We shared with Pakistan the list of 550 pilgrims who will go across,” sources said. The list includes VIPs like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Punjab Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Union minister Hardeep Puri, Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh and other MPs and MLAs.

Punjab, Mr Singh said, is on high alert ahead of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor. “I do not expect Pakistan to dare to do any mischief through the Corridor but it is important for Punjab, being a border state to remain on alert,” he added.

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