The recent developments on the Kartarpur front were a breath of fresh air in India-Pakistan ties. Unfortunately, the thaw was short-lived. For starters Islamabad shouldn’t have taken New Delhi’s diplomatic niceties for granted
Frank Rausan Pereira
Fast bowlers are not adept at bowling googlies and should refrain from doing so, else the repercussions could be catastrophic. What started as a pious and peaceful chapter in India-Pakistan ties soon turned out to be the same old wine in a new bottle. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's comment after the historic foundation laying ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor was uncalled for. If Pakistan is serious about peace, it needs to walk the talk and act responsibly. Much as it would like to win brownie points, its leaders must show some restraint.
The recent developments on the Kartarpur front were a breath of fresh air with regards to ties between the two neighbours. Unfortunately, the thaw was short-lived. For starters Islamabad shouldn’t have taken New Delhi’s diplomatic niceties for granted. The fact that politics was mixed with religion was what derailed the positive progress. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan missed the plot when he raked up the Kashmir issue during the foundation laying ceremony of the historic corridor on the Pakistani side.
Pakistan is clearly playing a double game. On the one hand it says it wants peace, on the other it refuses to crack down on terror. It’s a ploy by Khan and his government with the blessings of Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to show India in poor light. The idea behind the developments over last week is to send out a message to the international community that Pakistan is doing all it can bring peace to the region, but India is not keen to reciprocate. How can there be peace when the deep state continues to foment terror in Kashmir? The masterminds of 26/11 are still being harboured by Pakistan, despite repeated appeals made by India for action to be taken against them.
History has shown us that Pakistan can never be trusted. Every time New Delhi has given Islamabad the benefit of the doubt, it has come back to haunt us. The proposed Kartarpur corridor too is no different, it has some serious security implications. The Indian Army’s ‘Operation All Out’ has been a success in Kashmir, where the armed forces have been able to flush out and neutralise militants and terrorists. This has forced Pakistan to try and open other fronts for terrorism.
Punjab has a history of militancy and that’s what Khan and Bajwa are trying to exploit. The pro-Khalistan movement has been gathering steam once again. The UK-headquartered Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) is seeking secession of Punjab and wants to have a referendum by 2020 (Referendum 2020). The group which has a big presence in Europe and North America now has an office in Pakistan and has been working hard to radicalise Punjabi youth. That and the attendance of Gopal Singh Chawla, a separatist better known for his ties with Hafiz Saeed at the Kartarpur ceremony should concern us.
Gurudwara Darbar Sahib, better known as Kartarpur Sahib, is one of the holiest Sikh shrines. It is built on the site where Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life, 4 km away from the international border in Pakistan. Currently, devotees either have to obtain a Pakistani visa and take the long route to get to the Gurudwara or have to view the shrine with the help of binoculars set-up by the Border Security Force (BSF) just before the border fence. Once the corridor is complete devotees will have unhindered access to the shrine. This is where the problem lies. Unsuspecting youth could be easy targets of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and people such as Chawla. It is the same Chawla who in November did not allow Indian diplomats to visit another shrine — Gurudwara Nankana Sahib, located in the Pakistan's Punjab province. Why were the diplomats stopped from going to the Gurudwara if everything was in order?
For now, Pakistan’s 'googly' has been well-read by the Indian batsman and hit for a six. The tactic has failed and the ‘bowler’ has fallen flat on his face. It is due to poor strategy like this that Pakistan has never beaten India in the World Cup; and it looks like it will be the same story not just in cricket but other aspects as well. Pakistan’s lies have been nailed.
Frank Rausan Pereira is senior anchor, Rajya Sabha TV. Twitter: @frp09. Views are personalFor more Opinion pieces, click here