Ahead of the official opening of the Kartarpur corridor on November 9, Pakistan has released a video welcoming the pilgrims to the holy site. The video, tweeted in three parts by the Government of Pakistan from its official Twitter handle, has the posters of Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The poster has message of ‘Khalistan 2020’ and referendum written in bold letters. Started by an organisation known as Sikhs for Justice, ‘Referendum 2020’ movement is being covertly backed by Pakistan’s spy agency ISI. Another poster also shows other Kahlistani terrorists including Major General Shabeg Singh and Amrik Singh Khalsa, who along with Bhindranwale were killed in Operation Blue Star in 1984.
The poster, though in background, may affect what happens in the foreground of two nuclear neighbours. Several intelligence reports and terror experts have raised concern over the possibility of Pakistan using Kartarpur corridor to revive Khalistan movement in India.
This is not the first time that Pakistan has tried to use Kartarpur to back Khalistan. Previously, the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had pro-Khalistani separatist Gopal Singh Chawla’s name as its members. However, after protest from India, the Imran Khan-led government made some major changes to the committee and removed names of Chawla and others.
Not just Indian, but there are voices within Pakistan about Imran Khan’s tacit support for Khalistan.
Former Pak army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg has said that the country will use Kartarpur corridor for Khalistan terror. "Pakistan army and the government should create trouble for India through Khalistan movement," Mirza Aslam said.
The Kartarpur Corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, just 4 kilometres from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The two countries decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine everyday and that additional pilgrims will be allowed on special occasions, subject to capacity expansion of facilities by the Pakistani side.
India and Pakistan have also decided that the corridor will be operational through the year and seven days a week and that pilgrims, except kids and elderly persons, will have a choice to visit it as individuals or in groups.