Kartarpur corridor is not the opening chapter in a new India-Pakistan relationship

We at New Pakistan have always supported the need for good relations between Pakistan and all its neighbors, including India. However, the Kartarpur Sahib corridor opening is not the opening chapter to a new relationship between India and Pakistan. The corridor is being hailed by some as a good step and by others as hypocrisy.

The Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur is a gurdwara in Narowal District, Punjab built on the site where Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and where he breathed his last. The gurdwara is close to the India-Pakistan border.

For decades, Sikhs have demanded that India and Pakistan collaborate to build a corridor linking Kartarpur Sahib with Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district. The Kartarpur corridor involves a road link for Sikh pilgrims to visit the famous Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan, which is around three-four km from the International Border.

On Wednesday November 28, Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the the four kilometre-long Kartarpur Corridor.

What we want to ask the Prime Minister and his government is what is the rationale for your support for the corridor? Is the reason economic – Pakistan desperately needs money and so you want Western countries and India to provide aid and investment and support at international institutions?

Or are you genuinely interested in improving ties with India?

If the latter then at least say sorry and apologize to all those Pakistanis who for decades advocated for normal relations with India, including people like Asma Jahangir, who is no longer with us.

Further, if Naya Pakistan of Imran Khan really wanted to improve relations then they would act on the issue of terrorism. It was the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks this week and action against the Lashkar e Taiba and other affiliated terrorists would have affirmed the desire for normal relations much better than a pilgrimage corridor for just one community in Indian Punjab.

What is also interesting is that the Urdu population of Sindh that has family in India has for decades demanded a corridor with India but there is no sign that one will be built on that border.

So the only people the establishment will build open the border for are Sikh pilgrims coming to Punjab? Why?

In this context the presence of Gopal Singh Chawla, the pro-Khalistani leader, who “had earlier stopped Indian officials from visiting a Gurudwara in Lahore to meet Sikh pilgrims who had travelled from India” confirms this suspicion. Mr Chawla was seen conversing with General Qamar Javed Bajwa on the sidelines of the ground-breaking ceremony.

Could it be that a new deception game is being played where Pakistan once again wants to support Khalistan and create problems for India.  If that is so then nothing has changed.

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