The development of the Kartarpur corridor on the Indo-Pak border is being played up by usual suspects as a big breakthrough for peace between the two countries.
But going by Pakistan’s past track record of cynically using such initiatives to bolster their international credibility, without actually changing their use of terror as an instrument of state policy, it is prudent to ask these 8 questions about the Kartarpur Corridor ground-breaking ceremony –
1. Opening a corridor from India to Kartarpur has been an Indian demand for many decades. It has been brought up at the highest, PM level, also. Why was this whole event cast instead as some sort of maverick move between Imran Khan and Navjot Sidhu?
2. Invitations were extended to Indian ministers. Two Indian ministers—Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Puri—were sent by the Indian government. Ostensibly, this corridor is being innaugurated by the two governments. Then why were the Indian ministers neither seated next to Imran Khan (while Navjot was seated right beside him), and given speech slots after Navjot Sidhu? Is this not a breach of
diplomatic protocol in bilateral events?
3. Again, Indian ministers were invited, and this was supposed to be a joint Indo-Pak event. Why then was invitation extended to the most prominent Khalistani activist in Pakistan (Gopal Singh Chawla). This
is never done at bilateral events, unless the express intent is to humiliate the guest nation.
4. Why was Gopal Singh Chawla—who is not a member of Pakistan’s senate, nor a member of Imran’s party, nor a elected (or otherwise) representative of Pakistan’s Sikh community—asked to walk right
beside Imran Khan? Once more, this honour was not given to the official Indian guests—our two ministers. Is this not a breach of protocol?
5. What was the need to have the chief of army staff Bajwa at this event?
6. Is it just a coincidence that days before this event, posters came up at Kartarpur saying “Khalistan Zindabad” and having pictures of Bhindranwale and Gopal Singh Chawla? Is it not a gross breach of diplomatic protocol to not only invite, but give prominent position to a person like Chawla at the event? (As noted above, he walked right beside Imran as if HE were the guest of honour)
8. Gopal Singh Chawla has recently stopped, multiple times, Indian diplomats from entering Gurudwaras when they accompany Indian Sikh pilgrims (videos are on youtube). He has been photographed with Hafiz Saeed—an internationally recognized terrorist. Is this the sort of person Imran wanted to honour in front of our delegation? Can this be simple, innocent oversight? I hardly think so. There was a message being sent here, probably by Bajwa, the real power behind Imran.
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