There is saying in English ‘leopards don’t change their spots’. If any one believes that by opening the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, Pakistan has opened the door for better ties with India, he is far removed from reality of the situation in the South East Asia. Not only India the target of Pakistan also includes Afghanistan.
Kartarpur diplomacy should be viewed with Islamabad’s evil design on our border state of Punjab. Though it must be said that the opening of the corridor is a good cause for celebrations amongst our Sikh brothers and sisters who view this historic Gurudwara from the Indian side of the border from distance to have ‘darshan’ and pay obeisance to the Shrine. For it was here that Gurunanak Debji had assembled the Sikhs in 16th century and it was here that he went for his heavenly abode in 1539. For the Sikhs it is holiest of the holy shrines. Once the corridor is opened it will facilitate the devotees to travel to Kartarpur Sahib and offer prayers at the shrine. Apparently, this gesture of Pakistan has been widely well received by the people of Punjab and the Sikhs all over the world. In the same vein Navjot Singh Sidhu has reacted with great enthusiasm. His response is more like a child than a politician who has been a Member of Parliament and is currently a Minister in the Congress government in Punjab headed by Capt. Amrinder Singh. It is said that there is a child in every man no matter how old he is. But such childishness is at play in pranks and behaviour but not seen in light statement on international relations or in making statement that directly affects and compromise India’s position vis a vis Pakistan which is a hostile neighbour. Sidhu was floored when Omar Javed Bajwa, the Army Chief of Pakistan interacted with him in Punjabi. Sidhu went a step further and hugged the Pak army chief. Sidhu defended his act and went on to say that it was first initiative of establishing peace with Pakistan. It was then that Pakistan mentioned about building a corridor between India and Pakistan to link the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudeara that is situated in Pakistan. THE occasion was swearing in ceremony of Imran Khan as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Now that the construction of the corridor has finally begun with the ground breaking ceremony by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Sidhu has taken that it was he who has full credit for the Kartarpur corridor. It is not that simple Mr Sidhu. It is the calculated game of Pakistan to first win the goodwill of people of Punjab and then exploit some misguided men who still work to revive militancy in Punjab y raising the Khalistan issue.
We don’t know if the former Indian cricketer Sidhu has turned more ambitious in achieving higher position in Indian politics seeing that a former Cricketer in Pakistan has risen to become Prime Minister of that country. As if to reflect Sidhu’s thoughts on politics Imran Khan at the ground breaking function in Kartarpur said, “I hope we don’t have to wait for Navjot Sidhu to become India’s Prime Minister for the two countries to become friends,” Khan said. Earlier Sidhu had described Imran Khan as “Yaar Dildar” for agreeing to build the Kartarpur corridor. Imran Khan went on to defend Sidhu from criticism in India for his fulsome praise of Pakistan and its Prime Minister. Sidhu even described Imaran Khan as an ‘angel’.
Little wonder Pakistan Prime Minister said in favour of Sidhu that, “Why is Sidhu in so much trouble? We are two countries that are nuclear countries. We can’t be at war because that’s madness. So why do they criticise him?” Mr Khan said. Then he added an open invitation: “Sidhu come here and you will win elections here… I hope we don’t have to wait for Sidhu to become Prime Minister for peace talks to happen.”
In the game of cricket even ace batsman sometimes is bowled over by ‘Yorker’. Imran Khan has been a pace bowler and he has bowled the Indian batsman Sidhu over by his diplomatic ‘Yorker’. India’s response to the invitation extended to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the SAARC meeting in Pakistan by Imran Khan describe the prevailing situation in the Indian sub-continent. India has rejected the invitation to attend the SAARC summit in Pakistan.
There is no change in the cross border terrorism. There are regular ceasefire violations by the Pakistani Army in Jammu and Kashmir. There is no change in attitude and stated stand on Kashmir issue. True, one should not live in the past all the time. This is what Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said. But who is living in the Past’ it is not India but Pakistan which has not stopped waging a proxy war on India. We always stand for peace in the subcontinent. The Lahore bus yatra of our former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unscheduled visit to Pakistan to greet former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff are examples of India’s intent.
Imran Khan should first convince his Army junta before talking of peace with India.
(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)