Trust Pakistan to lay a minefield and ambush India with ever-new shenanigans.
The dispensation in Islamabad, obsessed with terror, sponsored by none other than its all-powerful army, has acquired yet another corridor – Kartarpur – to perpetuate another round of terrorism on India, especially in the border state of Punjab. Trust Pakistan to lay a minefield and ambush New Delhi with ever-new shenanigans.
Hours before Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan waxed eloquent on the need to forget the past and walk a new peace path, Pakistan’s army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa was hobnobbing with self-styled ‘so-called Khalistan’ leader Gopal Singh Chawla. The overwhelming presence of General Bajwa, accompanied by a ‘Khalistani leader’, in a predominantly civilian function reveals the army’s stranglehold over the event and its cunning ingenuity in hacking a diabolical plan.
According to security agencies, photographic evidence is available for the meeting between Gopal Chawla and LeT chief Hafiz Saeed in Lahore. Chawla also reportedly stopped Indian officials from entering Gurdwara Panja Sahib on 14 April, Baisakhi day.
It is no secret that ISI operatives in Jaish-e-Mohammad and Jamaat-ud-Dawa are in close contact with pro-Khalistan groups in Pakistan and elsewhere to revive the Khalistan movement through “Referendum 2020”. As part of this devious scheme, the army accorded red carpet welcome to Congress leader and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu and projected him as the architect of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
In fact, after attending the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan in August, Sidhu in the defence of his hug said how the Pakistan army chief informed him about plans to open the route to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary in 2019. He also said that General Bajwa expressed a desire to open the route to Nankana Sahab – a Sikh pilgrimage site in Pakistan. So, it is evident that Imran Khan this week was only reading out the script given to him by the all-powerful army top brass.
The Pakistan army very cleverly identified their man in India – a Sikh, a cricketer, friend of Imran Khan, political leader of the Congress and a former BJP member. Now with unrestricted entry for Sikh pilgrims in and out of India, what is the guarantee that anti-social elements will not be part of the unsuspecting pilgrims?
Another victory for the Pakistan army is the total eclipse of 26/11 terror attack barely two days after its tenth anniversary. While the mastermind of the terror attack Hafiz Saeed was freely roaming around, Imran Khan did not even mention the incident nor did he speak a word about Pakistani soil being used for foisting terror strikes on India. And, the two union ministers who attended the function did not speak a word about terror emanating from Pakistan.
New Delhi had very little or rather no option but to accept the corridor proposal and play along. But now, India needs to be extra vigilant as the number of pilgrims will increase on this route next year, coinciding with the activities of the self-proclaimed pro-Khalistan activists determined to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in Punjab through “Referendum 2020” during and after the 2019 elections.
The demand for a visa-free special corridor for Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib was not a new one. India had first proposed the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in 1999 when former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a bus ride to Lahore. The Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara was opened to pilgrims after restoration work in 1999, and Sikh pilgrims have since been visiting the place regularly after entering Pakistan on a valid visa.
Every year, several Sikh pilgrims travel to Pakistan to visit shrines during four religious occasions, and are given access to 20 gurdwaras. So, the corridor is not the exclusive achievement of one of Imran Khan’s friends, Sidhu. But surely, the Pakistan army chief played his cards smartly and killed many birds with one corridor.
The economic and social situation in Pakistan is woefully bad. After the US, China too seems to be totally disillusioned with Islamabad, especially after its economy went belly up. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through PoK and terminates at Gwadar port in Balochistan, has come under attack, literally.
Nothing is reported by mistake in China. Even a ‘wrong reporting through oversight’ is strategically pre-planned. So, China’s state-run CGTN Television excluded Pakistan-occupied territory (PoK) from Pakistan map while reporting a terror attack on its consulate in Karachi last Friday, reportedly carried out by Baloch Liberation Army, one of the many outfits fighting for a free Balochistan.
Pakistan army badly needed a diversionary ploy and Kartarpur corridor has come as a godsend, or rather ‘Gurusend’.
The author is former editor of ‘Organiser’.