CHANDIGARH: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh thinks the Kartarpur corridor, which will allow access to Sikh pilgrims in India to the gurdwara of the first Sikh guru in Pakistan, is a conspiracy by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to foment trouble in India.
Amarinder Singh, who had refused the Pakistani invite for the groundbreaking ceremony of the corridor, said in a TV interview on Saturday that the opening of the Kartarour corridor is a gameplan by the the Pakistani Army which wants to revive militancy in Punjab.
“Pakistan is attempting to revive militancy in Punjab and thus everyone should be wary of all of its overtures, no matter how grand they appear to be,’’ Amarinder Singh said.
The Punjab chief minister said the whole idea of the Kartarpur corridor was the idea of Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa who had “broken the news of opening the Kartarpur Corridor to Navjot Sindu even before Imran Khan was sworn in as their Prime Minister.’’
He said Imran Khan was no doubt making genuine efforts for peace with India, but he won’t succeed till he prevails over the Pakistan army to stop cross-border killings of Indian soldiers.
The chief minister warned the Pakistani army chief that Punjab Police was fully prepared to defeat his designs.
“General Bajwa should understand that Punjab Police is fully geared up to take Pakistan head-on, if it continues to vitiate peaceful atmosphere of the state through terror. Bajwa is sadly mistaken in underestimating the unbounded capacities and capabilities of Punjab Police in facing any daunting challenge,” Amarinder Singh said.
He said the Punjab of today is not the Punjab of the 1970s and 1980s when it had a small police force of 16,000–17,000 personnel, adding that today the state police was well equipped with high tech weapons and boasts commando battalions.
With the Akalis and the BJP taking credit for the opening of the corridor, Amarinder Singh that the demand for the Kartarpur corridor had actually been made by Indian leaders since the Partition as major gurdwaras — Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib, Dera Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib — were left in Pakistan in 1947.
He said Congress Prime Ministers — Indira Gandhi and later Manmohan Singh — had taken up the issue with Pakistan. “I had myself raised this issue with my counterpart in Pakistani Punjab Parvez Elahi and then President Parvez Musharraf during my previous tenure as Chief Minister,’’ Amarinder Singh claimed.
WHAT IS KARTARPUR CORRIDOR?: The Sikh founder Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life in Kartarpur in Pakistan where Gurdwara Darbar Sahib stands at the site where he left for his heavenly abode in 1539. The gurdwara is about four km from the Indian border. The proposed corridor of about 4 kilometre long from India-Pakistan will allow visa-free access to Indian pilgrims to pray at the historic gurdwara in the name of the Sikh founder.
WHY KARTARPUR WENT TO PAKISTAN?: The Radcliffe Line gave three tehsils of Gurdaspur district to India and one Shakargarh to Pakistan on the right bank of the Ravi river. Kartarpur was in Shakargarh tehsil.