Ahead of the official opening of the Katarpur Saheb Corridor, India has conveyed to Pakistan its serious objection over the release of a controversial video on the corridor which features posters of ‘Khalistani’ separatist leaders Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Major General (Dismissed) Shabeg Singh and Amrik Singh Khalsa in the background.
“We have conveyed through diplomatic channels our objection over the video put out by the Pakistan Press Information Department and reminded them that the propagation of the images of Sikh terrorists is against the spirit of the corridor,” government sources said.
They said India has also communicated to Pakistan its concerns over the security of a number of high-profile dignitaries who would be part of the official ‘jatha’ that would undertake the pilgrimage on 9 November. “Our security concerns have been communicated to Pakistan.” The ‘jatha’ would include former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri and MPs and MLAs from Punjab.
Pakistan was, however, yet to give confirmation on the official ‘jatha’.
An advance team from India to oversee the security arrangements at Kartarpur has so far not been allowed to visit the place though officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were allowed to visit Kartarpur on Wednesday.
Sources added that Pakistan had issued no clarification on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that the requirement of passports for Sikhs to visit the gurdwara had been waived. There was also still no clarity on which ID proof was required by the pilgrims or how many pilgrims would be allowed.
Sources said India was optimistic that the Kartarpur Corridor could become a ‘corridor of peace’ between the two countries. It was up to Pakistan to decide if it wanted to take this process forward on other issues.
India indeed had concerns about the corridor project but went ahead with it keeping in mind the sentiments of the Sikh community, sources added.
All the three ‘Khalistani’ leaders featuring in the Pakistani video were killed in the Indian Army operation at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar in June 1984.
The video shows clips of Sikh pilgrims visiting several gurdwaras across Pakistan, and the poster with the three Sikh separatist leaders is shown in the clip featuring Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak.