India protests against video released by Pakistan on Kartarpur – Times of India


NEW DELHI: While describing the Kartarpur Corridor, which will be inaugurated on Saturday, as a possible corridor of peace between India and Pakistan, the government also cautioned Wednesday that the same also served a “strategic purpose” for Pakistan, namely efforts from across the border to fan separatist sentiments in Punjab.
India has registered a protest with Islamabad over the issue of posters of slain Khalistani terrorists appearing in the background of a video released by the Pakistan government on the corridor. Asked about the video, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had said Wednesday that Pakistan had a “hidden agenda.”
Official sources here said that the pilgrims returning from Pakistan in the past few months have noticed a decrease in anti-India activities at gurudwaras in Pakistan. The government fears though that this might just be a temporary phase.
While India remains apprehensive that the corridor will be used by forces in Pakistan to “leverage” the Khalistan issue, government sources said India also saw the corridor as a positive step which would help promote Sikh interests.
Whether or not it can lead to something more substantive in bilateral relations, they said, will depend entirely on whether or not Pakistan chooses to behave as a “normal country.” India has repeatedly said that for any substantive engagement between the two countries, Pakistan must first stop promoting cross-border terrorism.
“There is a need to recognise the duality,” said a high-level source. “It serves a strategic purpose for Pakistan but, having said that, we also see it as a corridor of peace. The corridor provides a positive energy (in ties) but to what extent it can be converted to something more significant and long-term will depend on Pakistan,” added the source.
Talking about the “unusual alacrity” with which the Pakistan army had pushed the project, government sources here said it was important to remember that India had pressed Pakistan to open the corridor for over 20 years.
Ahead of the inauguration in Pakistan, the government remains concerned about the security of the Indian dignitaries who will be travelling with the first 575-strong jatha to Kartarpur on November 9.
However, while Pakistan has not yet allowed a visit by an Indian advance team, officials from the Indian high commission in Islamabad were allowed to visit Kartarpur on Wednesday.
Apart from former PM Manmohan Singh and his family, union ministers Harsimrat Badal and Hardeep Puri, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and several other ministers of the state are scheduled to pay obeisance at the gurudwara on Saturday.
While Pakistan PM Imran Khan had said in a tweet that Sikh pilgrims won’t have to carry passport for their pilgrimage, government sources said all pilgrims for now will travel to Kartarpur with their passports, as agreed in the MoU.
“For the MoU to be amended, Pakistan first has to officially approach us. Any why should this condition be waived off only for Sikhs and not others,” said a source, recalling how India had earlier forced Pakistan to withdraw the condition that pilgrims mention their religion in the travel documents.


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