Christine Fair, a Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University, US, wrote an article painting the ISI as the master heads behind the Khalistan movements revival in India, pointing out the Kartarpur Corridor as a critical part of this plan.
The Kartarpur Corridor became operational on November 9, 2019, allowing Sikh pilgrims who possess a special permit to traverse a 9 km stretch between Dera Baba Sahib, one of Sikhism’s most sacred sites in India, and Gurudwara Shri Kartarpur Sahib, located in Shakargarh, Pakistan.
However, Christine Fair claims this to be a prime breeding ground of dissension where ISI agents target the traveling Sikh pilgrims and indoctrinate them into the Khalistan Ideology while also giving them “recruitment literature” to carry back. Something she claims has been occurring for a long time.
Using a quote by Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, the current interior minister of Pakistan, as justification, “India will remember forever the kind of wound inflicted on it by General Bajwa by opening the Kartarpur Corridor…General Bajwa strongly hit India by opening the corridor.”
She claims she witnessed these events herself when she was a student in Pakistan. How Pakistanis used the annual Gurpurabs during which Sikh pilgrims would visit. However, she does fail to provide any evidence, so one would have to trust her word that an entire country is engaged in a covert indoctrination of a whole community, and there’s no proof.
She also accuses Pakistan of engaging in a proxy war with India by flooding the Sikh majority province of Indian Punjab with drugs. While not only failing to provide any proof, she fails to mention that most of the drugs trafficked into the country are not from Pakistan, a highly guarded border, but rather Sri Lanka.
The author then even suggests stricter FATF restrictions on Pakistan as a deterrent to this since a “blacklisting” by the organization would make it ineligible for International Monetary Fund lending.
Christine Fair claims that the most radicalized of the Sikh community is its diaspora living in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada rather than those living in the country. How ISI could influence these people more than India itself is not explained even though India has far better capabilities if one remembers the Disinfolab scandal.
While making plenty of excuses on behalf of the Indian government, she fails to mention some very crucial points. The Modi government in India and the RSS promoting the Hinduvita ideology would be a far better explanation for why the Sikh community felt threatened.
She completely fails to mention Operation Blue Star and the atrocities committed in the Golden Temple, Amritsar on the Sikh community in 1984. The blame was initially put on Pakistan for radicalizing the Sikhs according to forged documents by the Soviets, which were later discredited.
It is easy to blame another for all your own shortcomings, especially when you have to provide no credible evidence. Going back to the quote by Sheikh Rasheed, it could also have been interpreted as Pakistan wounding India by showing love and acceptance to a community they themselves failed to do so. But when one focuses on extremes with radical mindsets, such things can be easily overlooked.