Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday claimed that a Pakistani minister’s remark about Kartarpur Corridor had exposed Islamabad’s “nefarious intent behind the initiative”, PTI reported.
The Congress leader expressed concern after Pakistan Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid said the project was the brainchild of Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. India had hoped for the initiative to be a bridge of peace between India and Pakistan, but Rashid’s comments had bared Pakistan’s “wicked designs”, Singh added.
The Kartarpur Corridor was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Indian side and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan across the border on November 9. It connects the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Narowal district. Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev is believed to have been laid to rest in Kartarpur.
“India will remember forever the kind of wound inflicted on it by General Bajwa by opening Kartarpur Corridor,” Rashid told reporters on Saturday. “General Bajwa strongly hit India by opening the corridor. Through this project, Pakistan has created a new environment of peace and won itself love of the Sikh community.”
Singh took strong exception to the comment, and termed it an open and blatant threat to India’s security and integrity. “Don’t make the mistake of reading weakness in our gratitude for the opening of the corridor,” the chief minister said in a statement.
He said India would never let Pakistan fulfill its “despicable ambitions”, and claimed any attack would be met with “retaliation of the kind” that Islamabad would not survive, Hindustan Times reported.
Singh said despite his happiness as a Sikh he had maintained all along that “the threat posed to our country [by the corridor] could not be ignored”. Earlier this month, the chief minister had warned that Islamabad was trying to win the sympathies of Sikhs to promote the “Referendum 2020” agenda.
“This had been quite evident from various facts, most notably that General Bajwa had disclosed the Pakistani decision to build the corridor to then Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu at the time of Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony,” said the Congress leader. “Imran had not even taken over then, yet their Army chief had spoken about this to Sidhu. How was it possible unless General Bajwa was the one behind the corridor decision?” he asked.
The chief minister urged Sidhu to be more cautious in his dealings with the Imran Khan government, and not allow his friendship with the prime minister cloud his judgement as it could harm Indian interests.