A day ahead of the crucial second round of technical-level talks for the Kartarpur corridor between India and Pakistan, Islamabad, in what seems to be a move out of pressure from India, in an overnight development removed Khalistan supporter Gopal Singh Chawla from Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC).
India, in the past also had raised objections against the inclusion of several pro-Khalistan members in the Kartarpur corridor committee. India has been critical to the operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. The other pro-Khalistan agents that have been excluded from the PSGPC are Maninder Singh, Tara Singh, Bisan Singh and Kuljit Singh.
Gopal Singh Chawal is learnt to be a close aide of Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and has allegedly been using the Gurudwara in Pakistan to propagate anti-India sentiments. The move has come ahead of talks to be held tomorrow i.e. Sunday, July 14.
Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.
The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of India Sikh pilgrims who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev.
Vice President M Venkiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur Corridor in Gurdaspur district.
The first meeting of officials of Pakistan and India to finalise modalities of the corridor was held earlier this year in Attari in the wake of escalating bilateral tensions following the Pulwama terror attack.
The meeting was constructive and the discussions were held in a cordial environment, added the official. For Kartarpur corridor, India had conveyed its reservations against the inclusion of several Khalistani separatists in a committee appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor.
Clarifying on India’s objection to the presence of Khalistani separatists, the Foreign Office (FO) said the 10-member purely-religious committee was not specific to Kartarpur but responsible for the upkeep of all Sikh Gurudwaras in Pakistan.