Reacting strongly to the use of pictures of Khalistani separatist leaders in the Pakistani video song on the Kartarpur Corridor, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is of the view that this clearly endorses his stand that there was a hidden ISI agenda behind the historic corridor.
Talking informally with media persons on the sidelines of the special session of the Assembly to mark the 550th Prakash Purb of Guru Nanak Dev, he said he had been warning against the ISI role in Pakistan’s decision to open the corridor since the day their Prime Minister announced it.
Even though the corridor marked the realization of the long-cherished dream of the entire Sikh community, including him, to pay their respects at the historic shrine, India could not afford to ignore the ISI threat that was attached to it, said the Chief Minister, stressing the need for extreme caution.
“This is what I have been cautioning against all along: they (the ISI) have a negative agenda behind it. We have to be very careful,” he said, in response to a question.
The video, he said, had only exposed the true intent of the ISI.
“On the one hand, they are seemingly showing us compassion and humanity, and on the other, they seem intent on using the corridor to woo Indian Sikhs to promote the ISI-backed 2020 Khalistan Referendum and creating sleeper cells here”, Amarinder Singh said.
The controversy over the Pakistani video song has been triggered by the use of a picture showing three Khalistani separatist leaders, who were killed during Operation Blue Star in June 1984.
The Chief Minister also lashed out at the Akali leaders for playing into the hands of the ISI with their politically motivated comments on the Kartarpur Corridor issue.
Reacting to recent statements by Akali Dal President Sukhbir Badal and former state minister Bikram Majithia that he (the Chief Minister) had been trying to sabotage the corridor by cautioning against an ISI game plan, Amarinder Singh said the Akali leaders were blinded by their lust for power.
They (the SAD leaders) cannot see beyond their petty political interests”, said the Chief Minister, adding their stubborn refusal to see the signs of the ISI’s disruptive agenda smacked of selfishness and total disregard for the interests of Punjab and its people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor on Saturday and dispatch the first batch of pilgrims to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara on the occasion of the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
The Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, originally known as Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, is a highly revered Sikh shrine, where Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life, and it is also his final resting place. The corridor connects the shrine in Pakistan’s Punjab province with the Indian Punjab.
With Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu still awaiting political clearance to visit Pakistan for the November 9 Kartarpur inauguration, sources said those who are part of the 550 persons going via the corridor from india that day would not need such clearance.
Sidhu was invited by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for the inauguration, which he accepted. However, India said such invitees would require political clearance.
Sidhu has written to the External Affairs Minister Jaishankar to seek clearance, which he has reportedly not received.
According to sources, “whoever is going via the corridor on Nov 9 will not require political clearance.”
Sidhu would be going via the Wagah border. (IANS)