Ahead of corridor inaugural, India worried about Pak

Pakistani town of Kartarpur near the Indian border. (Photo by AFP)

With the inauguration of the “Kartarpur Corridor” just three days away, India is keeping its “eyes wide open” as it suspects that Pakistan might use the cross-border project to make yet another attempt to breathe fresh life into Khalistani separatism in Punjab.

New Delhi has already conveyed to Islamabad its concern after Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of Pakistan Government recently released a video on the “Kartarpur Corridor” with pictures of Khalistani Sikh separatist leaders, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Shabeg Singh and Amrik Singh, who had been killed during Indian Army's Operation Bluestar at Golden Temple in Amritsar on June 6, 1984, sources said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor's stretch in India at Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab on November 9, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. His counterpart Imran Khan too will inaugurate the corridor's stretch in Pakistan in the neighbouring country on the same day. The first “jatha” of about 550 pilgrims, who will use the corridor to travel from Dera Baba Nanak in India to the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, will include former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh, former Deputy Chief Minister of the State Sukhbir Singh Badal, Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Harsimrat Kaur, as well as several parliamentarians.

Islamabad turned down a request by New Delhi for allowing an advance team to visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan to see the arrangements for the visit of the first 'jatha' of pilgrims from India comprising senior political leaders, parliamentarians and dignitaries.

Khan Government only allowed officials of the High Commission of India in Islamabad to visit the shrine and the venue of the inaugural ceremony.

New Delhi asked Islamabad to provide the highest level of security to the VVIPs, sources said, adding that the activities of the Khalistani Sikh terrorists in Pakistan remained a concern for India.

The “Kartarpur Corridor” will facilitate pilgrims from India to cross over to Pakistan and visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur without any hassle.

The Gurdwara by the river Ravi is revered as among the holiest for the Sikhs as it marks the place where Guru Nanak lived for 18 years and finally breathed his last in 1539. The governments of the two countries built infrastructures to facilitate travel by the pilgrims from India to the shrine in Pakistan.

“With opening of Kartarpur Sahib corridor, when we are marking Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th Parkash Purab, PM @narendramodi has realised the long-cherished dream of millions. On 9th, (November 9) let’s witness history being created as PM @narendramodi dedicates this corridor to the nation,” Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted.

New Delhi was aware of the fact that the Kartarpur Corridor was a project which had been conceived by Pakistan Army with the objective of reviving Khalistani separatism in India. "We had concerns what Pakistan was attempting but we see it as essentially a positive step for accommodating the interests of all devotees of Guru Nanak," sources in New Delhi said.

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