‘I told you so… Pakistan has hidden agenda’: Amarinder Singh on Bhindranwale row

‘I told you so… Pakistan has hidden agenda’: Amarinder Singh on Bhindranwale row

“I told you so,” said Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday as a video released by Pakistan on Monday to mark the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor showed posters of Khalistani separatist leaders Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Maj Gen Shabeg Singh and Amrik Singh Khalsa in the background in a clip.

The video, release on Monday by Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, received flak for showing the three separatists who were killed when Army stormed Golden Temple in June 1984 in Operation Blue Star to free it of terrorists holed up inside.

According to news agency ANI, Amarinder Singh, who has time and again warned against Pakistan’s ‘ulterior motive’ in opening the corridor, said, “All this is what I have been warning about since day one, that Pakistan has a hidden agenda here”.

“Sikh community had been asking for opening of the passage to the sacred Kartarpur shrine for the past 70 years, but Pakistan’s sudden decision to accept the demand indicated an ulterior motive, aimed at driving a wedge in the Sikh community by exploiting their religious sentiments,” the chief minister told reporters recently.

“While we do not expect Pakistan to dare to do any mischief through the Corridor, it is important that, as a border state, Punjab remains on alert,” said the chief minister adding that the state was keeping close tabs on the situation and was maintaining heightened alert.

Security agencies also see the last-minute exemptions offered by Pakistan to pilgrims for visa-free access to the gurdwara built at the place where Sikhism’s founder, Guru Nanak, spent his last years in Pakistan as part of an elaborate plan to revive militancy in Punjab, officials said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Friday announced that the pilgrims will not require passports to cross over to Pakistan through the Kartarpur Corridor as long as they possess valid identity cards. He also waived the $20 service fee for pilgrims on the day of the corridor’s inauguration on November 9 and Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday three days later. The pilgrims also no longer need to register 10 days in advance for the pilgrimage.

One of the officials cited above said that Pakistan’s sudden change of heart “is a clear attempt to portray a false-sense of bonhomie for the Sikhs”. “In particular, they want to target the youth,’’ he said on condition of anonymity.

The Kartarpur corridor, which will link Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to Durbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, is set to be opened on November 9

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