Washington, DC – Pakistan under cricketer turned politician Prime Minister Imran Khan is slowly but steadily fanning the simmering ashes of the Khalistan supporters, as is evident from the recent not so subtle display of Khalistan flags at the birth celebrations of Guru Nanak in Pakistan. On the streets in and around Nankana Saheb, those Khalistani flags and vocal supporters dominated with full support of the Pakistani law and order forces present.
Live coverage on Facebook of the religious festivities in Pakistan by Radio Voice Of Punjab USA confirmed the open display of these Khalistan flags and sentiments. Kanwalpreet Singh (KP Singh), the founder and presenter of the Houston based Voice of Punjab USA, failed to respond to a request from IAT for both comments on his service to the community and also about the Khalistani propaganda angle to the broadcast.
Multiple sources from the US, who have visited Pakistan, confirm to IAT that Khalistani flavor and strong support is being aired within the sanctity of Sikh Gurdwaras during religious Sikh gatherings. Moreover, such unsullied supporting voices in favor of carving a Khalistan state and vitriolic speeches against India, are regular happenings within the Sikh Gurdwaras in Pakistan.
On the Indian side, the nefarious activities of Pakistan based terror groups continue unabated. There was a bomb blast in Dinapur, an attack on Pathankot air force base and then the latest grenade attack in Amritsar and these are just some of the known incidents.
There has been a surge in Khalistani activities taking place in the Western nations. Those activists may not have grassroots support either in those countries or in Punjab but then there are always vested interests pushing with financial aid to sustain and political crutches to walk with.
Now the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is being used to send a message to the Sikh population globally that Pakistan cares for Sikh sentiments and is a friend of the community. But there are security concerns from the Indian side regarding the free movement of citizens between the two countries, even within the controlled environment of the corridor.
Welcoming the opening of the corridor, Puneet Singh Ahluwalia, Member Trump Asian Pacific Advisory Committee, said, “The opening of The Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan is a huge win for the Sikhs, Sindhis, Punjabis, and the followers of Guru Nanak Dev Ji all over the world. The leadership of Pakistan has gained admiration from the Sikhs.”
New York based eminent attorney Ravi Batra also praised the Pakistani gesture saying: “With Guru Nanak’s 550th Birthday a year away, Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan has with this singular generous act of opening up the visa-free Kartarpur Corridor to Nankana Saheb – worthy of facial applause – has honored Sikhism’s holiest shrine.”
Batra had words of appreciation and encouragement for the newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan saying, “Imran Khan is a breath of fresh air. He needs support by all good people to stretch and take a chance. But, ultimately, Thomas Jefferson’s age old prescription still holds true: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
Without mincing words, attorney Batra accused a US based organization “Sikhs for Justice” of fanning the separatist movement of Khalistani interests and challenged Pakistani leader Khan: “As deeds speak louder than words, I’d invite PM Imran Khan, and the Pakistani Army & ISI, who have saved Pakistani Sovereignty from unbridled civilian corruption destroying that nation-state, to abandon the use of Terror as a tool of Statecraft and terminate their unholy alliance and support of “Sikhs for Justice,” which has morphed from a civil rights or human rights entity to a Trojan Horse seeking to incite civil unrest and strife and burn the fires of separatists in India as a unregistered Foreign Agent.”
In his unequivocal style Batra addressed a pertinent question to: “Pakistan’s Deep State, using that term neutrally, is: Was this Opening aimed at something less holy – as in meddling in India’s internal affairs by promoting Khalistan fervor to dismember a part of United India?”
Use of US soil to issue inflammatory statements against another sovereign nation is unwelcome not only in the US but also in other democratic countries and Batra urged the US administration to look into it saying, “Our State Department can play a helpful role as a benefactor to Sikhism, India and Pakistan: examine the citizenship status of SFJ leadership, and involve Departments of Justice and Homeland Security as needed.”
Echoing the sentiments of attorney Batra, Puneet Ahluwalia, the rising star of Republican Party in the US, also expressed his apprehension on the real motives of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies. “Pakistan has been the mastermind in creating chaos and instability in Afghanistan. Now, they intend to extend their vicious plan from the Indian state of Kashmir to Punjab,” said Ahluwalia, adding, “With an extended history of betraying our nation and not being a reliable ally in our fight against terrorism, it is imperative that we Sikhs, Punjabis, and members of the free world see through the game they have long been playing.”
The sequence of events and policies flouted by the Pakistani armed forces add credence to such doubts from political opinions. Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa has been vocal – publicly supporting the corridor project and openly discussed it with visiting Indian legislator Navjot Singh Sidhu at Prime Minister Khan’s inauguration in August. General Bajwa was also prominently present at the ground-breaking of the Kartarpur Corridor.
1984 – Sikh Massacre
Ahluwalia, however also asked the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s federal government in New Delhi to sooth the frayed nerves of Sikh community which has been alienated since the nation-wide massacre of the community in the aftermath of the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards.
Ahluwalia urged the Modi-led government to “bring all who are responsible for the death of each Sikh during the ’84 riots to justice. This shouldn’t be an election stunt for any political party, as justice has been long-awaited.” Since 1984, successive federal governments have been dragging their feet to bring the masterminds and perpetrators of those mass-killings to justice.
Attorney Batra, on the other hand, sounded optimistic saying, “Recent convictions and even death penalty ordered by an Indian court has delighted me, as I had promised the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the SFJ cases against Indian National Congress and the personally warm and gracious Sonia Gandhi, both were my clients, that India, if given time as we in the United States took to right the wrong for unconstitutionally interning Japanese-Americans in WWII, would also set her house right and address the sin & evil of the Anti-Sikh Riots of 1984.”
The Sikh community was alienated by “Operation Blue Star”, the massive attack led by the military using tanks and heavy ammunition, on one of their holiest shrines, Akal Takht Gurdwara and the Golden Temple Darbar Saheb Gurdwara. The war-style attack with complete blackout of news coverage allegedly killed thousands of innocent Sikhs who had gathered for religious festivities. Operation Blue Star was deployed to flush out Sikh youths demanding an independent nation Khalistan for the Sikhs. The Government of India termed them terrorists and alleged tacit support from the Pakistani army and intelligence services.