Pakistan response on India's demands on Kartarpur Corridor inadequate: Capt Amarinder Singh

A day before the India and Pakistan delegation meeting yesterday at Attari, Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Wednesday met pro-Khalistan leader and Jaish chief Masood Azhar's aide Gopal Singh Chawla.

Published: 15th March 2019 03:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2019 03:38 PM   |  A+A-

Kartarpur Sahib

Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. (Photo| YouTube screengrab)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: Underlining its security concerns vis-a-vis the Khalistan separatist movement, India told Pakistan to not promote secessionist activities and it should not let the places of pilgrimage be used for separatist propaganda by anti-India elements.

Expressing disappointment at Pakistan’s response to the various issues raised by India during the first meeting on the Kartarpur Corridor, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh urged Islamabad to be
more amenable and responsive to India’s demands, keeping in view the interests of the devotees seeking to pay obeisance at the historic Gurdwara across the border.

After the five hours first meeting on Karatarpur corridor issue with the eighteen-member Pakistani delegation at the Attari border yesterday, Joint Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran) Deepak Mittal, shared India’s concerns about Pro-Khalistan propaganda targeting devotees. "We emphasised to them that they (Pakistan) should not allow any activity against the spirit with which pilgrims will visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur Sahib. They assured us they would not let their soil be mutualised, ” he said.

India also reiterated that they wanted consular access to the pilgrims. “ It is not part of the current arrangements, but we said that consular access was important this time,” said, SCL Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

There have also been reports that Khalistan separatist groups could use the corridor route to push terrorists.

Yesterday US-based, Pro-Khalistan advocacy group `Sikhs For Justice’ (SFJ) which is running a campaign Referendum 2020 announced that SFJ will sponsor 10,000 Sikh pilgrims from Punjab during 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev at Kartarpur Sahib. SFJ is holding a Kartarpur Sahib Convention on “Khalistan – Referendum 2020”.

Last year on the occasion of the 549th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev when Sikh devotees visited Gurdwara Janam Asthan at Nankana Sahib and Gurdwara Sachcha Sauda at Farooqabad near Lahore they
saw huge posters with pictures of separatist leaders by SFJ calling for secession of Khalistan from India. They were also greeted with slogans and processions.

The officials of the High Commission of India in Islamabad were not allowed to enter the shrines and meet the Sikh pilgrims, thus prompting Indian Government lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan Government.

A day before the India and Pakistan delegation meeting yesterday at Attari, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday met pro-Khalistan leader and Jaish chief Masood Azhar's aide Gopal Singh Chawla.

Meanwhile, Amarinder said Islamabad’s response to India’s demands was totally inadequate and the neighbouring country needed to reconsider its stand if the corridor is to serve its true purpose, in the spirit in which it was decided to be opened.

"The limitation of 500 pilgrims a day, as proposed by Pakistan, was extremely insufficient and curtailing the visit to a limited number of days in a week would defeat the purpose even further, they should be allowed all seven days in a week, ’’ he said.

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