Chandigarh, Dec 14:
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday slammed the Pakistan Army raising questions on its intentions to open the Kartarpur Corridor between the two countries and for trying to revive terrorism in the border state. Participating in a discussion in Punjab Assembly on a resolution on the corridor, Singh warned political parties in the state to be wary of the “ulterior motives” of the Pakistan Army. “Do you really think that the Pakistan Army is our sympathiser when it is continuously killing our soldiers at the border with the ultimate aim of destabilising the border state,” he said, referring to the leaders in the assembly and urged them to contribute to maintaining peace in the state. “Why did Pakistan Army chief broke news about the corridor even before the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan? What was his interest,” he said. Singh had refused to visit Pakistan for the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor across the border on November 28, citing terrorist attacks by Pakistan-backed terrorists in India and killing of Indian soldiers on the Kashmir border. He, however said, he hopes the corridor would become a “bridge of peace” in the times to come and reiterated that he accompany the first ‘Jatha’ to Kartarpur gurdwara.
The chief minister also asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to “reign in his army”.
“I want to congratulate the Pakistan prime minister (on the decision to open the corridor). My only request to him is that you are a newly elected prime minister and people have high hopes from him; he should rein in his army,” Singh said.
On November 26, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Singh laid the foundation stone of the corridor on the Indian side of the border. On completion, the corridor will facilitate Sikh pilgrims in visiting the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib on the banks of Ravi river in Pakistan where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, had spent 18 years.
The chief minister reiterated his government’s commitment to protect Punjab from ISI-backed terrorism and said no one would be allowed to push it back into terrorism.
Though Congress leaders shared Singh’s concern about Pakistan Army’s designs to revive militancy in Punjab, opposition leaders said there should be no any “negativity” on the Kartarpur corridor issue.
“It is a historic resolution and we unanimously support it. But there should not be any negativity. Terrorists do not have religion and they only follow their mission. It is the government of India which will ensure foolproof security,” said SAD chief Sukhbir Badal.
Akali leader Gurpartap Singh Wadala said there should be no room for scepticism on the issue. AAP MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan praised Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for pushing for the opening of the corridor and rejected suggestions that there could be any recruitment of people from here for spreading terror activities in Punjab.
However, BJP legislator Som Prakash said the chief minister’s fears cannot be overlooked. He said Pakistan has never been sincere in mending ties with India and cited terrorist attacks in Kashmir, Pathankot and Mumbai.
Following the discussion, the Punjab Assembly unanimously passed the resolution and urged the Centre to complete all necessary work before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019 and ensure that peace in Punjab is not disturbed.