Pak try­ing to in­cite Sikhs: In­dia

The Asian Age - - Front Page -

In­dia on Mon­day ac­cused Pak­istan of try­ing to in­cite In­dian Sikh pil­grims there by rais­ing the is­sue of “Khal­is­tan” through in­flam­ma­tory state­ments and posters. New Delhi lodged a strong protest and sum­moned Pak­istan’s deputy high com­mis­sioner over the de­vel­op­ments. Islamabad was told to stop all ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at un­der­min­ing In­dia’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and to stop ex­tend­ing sup­port to se­ces­sion­ist move­ments in In­dia. This marks the es­ca­la­tion of a fresh diplo­matic row be­tween the two coun­tries that erupted on Sun­day when In­dia lodged a strong protest with Pak­istan over “block­ing of ac­cess” for vis­it­ing In­dian Sikh pil­grims to In­dian diplo­mats and con­sular teams. A jatha ( batch) of 1,800 In­dian Sikh pil­grims is cur­rently vis­it­ing Pak­istan.

It may be re­called that Pak­istani se­cu­rity agen­cies in­clud­ing the no­to­ri­ous ISI have long been un­der the scan­ner for their role in try­ing to get pro- Khal­is­tan el­e­ments in Eu­rope and North Amer­ica to in­sti­gate In­dian Sikh pil­grims who visit Pak­istan.

A ter­ror­ist se­ces­sion­ist move­ment aimed at the for­ma­tion of an in­de­pen­dent “Khal­is­tan” had rocked Pun­jab in the 1980s and early 1990s, but the ter­ror­ist move­ment was suc­cess­fully smashed by the Pun­jab po­lice by 1994- 95. But ob­servers note that Pak­istan has not given up its plans of

try­ing to reignite the move­ment through proKhal­is­tan el­e­ments based over­seas.

In a state­ment on Mon­day, In­dia said: “The deputy high com­mis­sioner of Pak­istan was sum­moned to­day and a strong protest was lodged at at­tempts be­ing made dur­ing the on­go­ing visit of the Sikh pil­grims from In­dia to Pak­istan to raise the is­sue of ‘ Khal­is­tan’ by mak­ing in­flam­ma­tory state­ments and dis­play­ing posters at var­i­ous places of pil­grims visit in Pak­istan. Pak­istan was called upon to im­me­di­ately stop all such ac­tiv­i­ties

On Sun­day, a fu­ri­ous In­dia had lam­basted Pak over an in­ci­dent in which In­dian high com­mis­sioner was asked by Pak to re­turn en route while trav­el­ling to Panja Sahib Gur­d­wara on grounds of ‘ se­cu­rity’

that were aimed at un­der­min­ing In­dia’s sovereignty, ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and in­cite­ment of dishar­mony in In­dia.”

The MEA added: “It was con­veyed that such re­peated at­tempts by the au­thor­i­ties and en­ti­ties in Pak­istan to ex­tend sup­port to se­ces­sion­ist move­ments in In­dia amount to in­ter­fer­ence in the in­ter­nal af­fairs of In­dia. More­over, such in­ci­dents dur­ing the visit of In­dian pil­grims go against the spirit of the bi­lat­eral pro­to­col of 1974 gov­ern­ing the ex­change of vis­its of pil­grims be­tween the two coun­tries.”

On Sun­day, a fu­ri­ous In­dia had lam­basted Pak­istan over an in­ci­dent in which In­dian high com­mis­sioner Ajay Bis­aria was asked by the Pak­ista­nis to re­turn en route while trav­el­ling to the fa­mous Panja Sahib Gur­d­wara on grounds of “se­cu­rity”. Islamabad had how­ever de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and had ac­cused In­dia of “dis­tort­ing and mis­rep­re­sent­ing facts”. Pak­istan had claimed that the In­dian high com­mis­sion and the Evac­uee Trust Prop­erty Board in Pak­istan had mu­tu­ally agreed to can­cel the high com­mis­sioner’s visit be­fore­hand as some Sikh pil­grims from across the world gath­ered in Pak­istan were ag­i­tated over the film Nanak Shah Fakir on the first Sikh guru and founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak, which in­ci­den­tally has gen­er­ated con­tro­versy over its re­lease in In­dia.

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