Pakistan’s Sikh community flays India for shying away from Kartarpur talks

Published: March 30, 2019
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Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. PHOTO: FILE

Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Pakistan’s Sikh community expressed on Friday its dismay over the Indian government’s decision of postponing the scheduled dialogue with Pakistan on the Kartarpur Corridor project.

Terming the Indian objections on inclusion of some members of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) as “baseless”, the Sikh Council Pakistan (SCP) maintained that the Indian move was an attempt to escape from the project.

The organisation has decided to pen a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, in which a demand of not succumbing to Indian pressure would be made.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, SCP Secretary General Sardar Sarjeet Singh Kanwal said postponing Kartarpur talks was an Indian conspiracy to avoid the dialogue process as the government in New Delhi, and few other state institutions were apparently not happy with the project.

India’s postponement of talks can endanger Kartarpur initiative: FO

“Pakistan is carrying out the work at a fast pace for the timely completion of the project. The Indian government, on the contrary, is still preparing a written plan,” he said.

Kanwal said that the PSGPC had been working since 1999 whose sole purpose was to look after the temples and provide hospitality to Sikh visitors coming from across the world, including India, for religious festivals.

Sardar Ajeet Singh Sagar, another SCP leader said that linking the committee with the Khalistan movement was ridiculous.

Millions of Sikhs across the world, he added, had their own stance on the Khalistan movement. He termed the Indian allegations a propaganda and an attempt to sabotage the Kartarpur project.

Among those Pakistani Sikh leaders who have been accused by India for being supporters of the Khalistan movement include former head of the committee Sardar Bushan Singh, who has remained a member of district council Lahore and his services for the Sikh community and Sikh Gurdwaras of Pakistan are exemplary.

Sardar Goyal Singh Chawla, a former secretary general of PSGPC, said Bushan Singh is a peaceful man who has always spoken the truth and will continue to do so. He never created chaos or supported such measures, Chawla added.

He announced support for each and every initiative taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan on the project.

While Pakistan’s Foreign Office Pakistan has expressed regret over the Indian move, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has clarified that the Kartarpur corridor will be opened on the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak.

The proposal to build a corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan and Dera Baba Nanak in India has been there for two decades.

The idea, however, began to take shape when Prime Minister Imran Khan laid its foundation stone in November last year.

Pakistan’s friendly gesture is meant to facilitate the Indian Sikh community to visit the sacred place where their spiritual leader lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.

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