Kartarpur and religious minorities in Pakistan
On November 28, 2018, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur corridor, connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Pakistan to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India. Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur is located on the bank of the Ravi, Pakistan, which is about 4 km away from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine located in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India. The significance of Gurudwara Darbar Sahib is immense, as it is said that Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, assembled Sikh community and lived here for 18 years until his death in 1539. The shrine could be seen from the Indian side of Dera Baba Nanakshrine. From the Indian side, Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister for Housing, Hardeep Singh Puri attended the ceremony.
Now, it is important to understand that unexpectedly what compelled Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to agree with Kartarpur corridor? In February 1999, for the first time, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had raised Kartarpur issue with the then Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf and subsequently the then PM Manmohan Singh, during his tenure, also pushed the issue several times before Pakistan. But no government of Pakistan thought on this and always avoided this issue.
There are many reasons behind the sudden inauguration of Kartarpur corridor by Pakistan and it is totally political and diplomatic. Firstly, Pakistan wanted a dialogue with India. But, India has been categorically denying any dialogue with Pakistan unless it stops its soil for terrorism against India. Here it is important to mention that day after the inauguration of Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan invited India for SAARC meet. But External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj ruled out any dialogue with Pakistan and said that terror and talk cannot go together. Though, it is a fact that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi exposes his country himself calling Kartarpur a ‘googly’. “Imran Khan bowled a ‘googly’ to ensure Indian government’s presence at the groundbreaking ceremony,” media reports quoted him as saying.
Secondly, which is most significant, the economy of Pakistan is going through a crisis day by day and the situation is so worse that the US, once a trusted partner of Pakistan, has suspended $3 billion in security assistance to Pakistan this year after it failed to rein in terrorist groups. Pakistani rupee, which was rupees 100 against 1 dollar in May, is now rupees 144. Pakistan is already facing the IMF bailout situation, and due to this, Imran Khan has already visited countries like Saudi Arabia, China, and Malaysia for financial aid. The fact is that Imran Khan himself knows that without India’s cooperation, Pakistan’s economy cannot run smoothly and even it will not be able to attract foreign investors. Therefore, by any means, he is raising the issue of dialogue.
Now coming to the point on the inauguration of Kartarpur corridor, many political analysts believe that with the help ofKartarpur, Pakistan wants to provoke so-called Khalistan movement in Punjab and it is not possible unless it comes close to the Sikh community. However, Pakistan’s new love with Sikh community is full of contradiction. If we look at the population of the Sikh community after 1947 in Pakistan, it has drastically decreased. Not only Sikh community even Hindu and Christian minorities are facing
Recently, according to the report published in Sputnik, Pakistan’s first Sikh policeman Gulab Singh was allegedly humiliated by the Pakistani forces, who
Pakistan was created in the name of religion and the truth is that the minorities were never given an opportunity to be equal citizens of Pakistan. As a result, the number of religious minorities declined from 23
Speaking on the ruthless behavior of Pakistan’s governments and Army against the minorities, Zulfiqar Shah, a civil rights activist, journalist and writer of Sindhi origin, who was forced by the Pakistan Army to unlawfully leave the country and close down The Institute for Social Movements, Pakistan, in May 2012, says that Sindhis are seculars, moderates and liberals. They want the exodus of Hindus and Sikhs to be stopped. But some people sitting in ISI ask religious extremist groups to either rapeHindu women or forcibly convert them to Islam or abduct and kill the Hindus
“There are three aspects behind the ruthless
Here it is worth mentioning that Imran Khan’s PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) has been in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for years and it has not taken any legitimate step to tackle extremist groups. So, it is clear that Pakistan has some hidden agenda behind theKartarpur corridor.
By RAVI MISHRA