Home Other Despite India’s accusations against Pakistan for “inciting Sikh pilgrims”, pilgrims praise Pakistan

Despite India’s accusations against Pakistan for “inciting Sikh pilgrims”, pilgrims praise Pakistan

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News Analysis |

Pakistan, while categorically rejecting the Indian allegations of “attempts to incite Indian pilgrims” on the issue of ‘Khalistan’ on Tuesday said that by spreading such falsehoods, India has chosen to deliberately stoke further controversy around the visit of Sikh pilgrims who are currently attending the Baisakhi and Khalsa Janamdin ceremonies in Pakistan. This comes as Sikh Pilgrims lauded Pakistan’s efforts for ensuring the religious freedom of the minorities and safeguarding the sacred places and Gurudawaras of the Sikh community in Pakistan.

Pakistan on Tuesday said it was not inciting the Sikh community to intensify the “Khalistan” campaign. The foreign ministry categorically rejected Indian allegations of “attempts to incite Indian pilgrims” on the issue of “Khalistan”.

By spreading such falsehoods, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr. Mohammed Faisal said: “India has chosen to deliberately stoke further controversy around the visit of Sikh pilgrims, currently attending the Baisakhi and Khalsa Janamdin ceremonies in Pakistan.”

A delegation of 23 male and female Sikh Yatrees from Canada on Wednesday visited Gurudawara Babey Di Beri and thanked Pakistani government’s policies for the minority communities especially Sikhs.

Dr. Faisal said Pakistan welcomed Hindu and Sikh pilgrims from all over the world, including India. “As always, Pakistani authorities have made arrangements to extend maximum facilitation to the visiting Sikh yatrees. The members of the Sikh community appreciate the assistance and cooperation extended to them during their visits to sacred places in Pakistan,” he said.

Faisal said the Sikh community had been protesting against the government of India for screening a controversial movie in India, which hurt their religious sentiments.  “These protests had started in India and other parts of the world before the Sikh yatrees [pilgrims] arrived in Pakistan,” he added.

Read more: India fumes over pro-Khalistan posters in Pakistan

In view of the charged situation and the explicit refusal of the Sikh yatrees to meet Indian officials, he said, Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria cancelled his visit on April 14. “Indian attempts to distort the truth and obfuscate facts are unethical and regrettable,” he contended.

The spokesperson said: “It is ironic that the country whose highest officials are on record for statements against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan choose to indulge in blatant hypocrisy by twisting facts.”

Faisal said: “We remain committed to continuing such cooperation, which is in line with our religious ethos, traditions of hospitality, and provisions of the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines. No amount of Indian propaganda could succeed in turning this right into a wrong.”

Pakistani authorities have made arrangements to extend maximum facilitation to the visiting Sikh yatrees. The members of the Sikh community appreciate the assistance and cooperation extended to them during their visits to sacred places in Pakistan,” he said.

The Government of India, he said, “should respect international and inter-state norms, respect all religions, especially minorities, and refrain from indulging in pointless provocation, which only vitiates an already charged environment to the detriment of all.

India on Monday summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner in New Delhi and lodged a strong protest over attempts to raise the Khalistan issue during the visit of Sikh pilgrims to that country, while asking Islamabad to immediately cease all such activities aimed at undermining India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Read more: Khalistan support leads to dilemma for Canadian Prime Minister

The Khalistan movement was a mass campaign by the Indian Sikhs for a separate Sikh state which seemingly reached its pinnacles in 1970’s- 80’s. Indian Sikhs felt that their annexation with the Indian Federation was a threat to their cultural, religious and ethnic identity. These Sikhs were supported by many in the Sikh Diaspora. On humanitarian grounds, segments of the Pakistani populace consider the call for Khalistan licit and consider Khalistan movement as one of the many liberation movements in India.

The Indian Government carried out the brutal Operation Blue Star to oppress the revolt, which gave rise to subsequent retaliation by Sikh groups which was used as a pretext for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots (designated as a genocide by many neutral observers).

Recently, Khalistani activists have become activated and charged up to redeem the Khalistan Movement with similar kind of flare, as that in 70’s and 80’s.The Sikh diaspora of England in this regard is endeavored to have a referendum by 2020 which would destine their future. The Canadian Diaspora is also very much eager to redeem the liberation movement. Indian Government has shown serious resentment and has contacted Canadian Prime Minister to look into the matter.

The Government of India, he said, “should respect international and inter-state norms, respect all religions, especially minorities, and refrain from indulging in pointless provocation, which only vitiates an already charged environment to the detriment of all.

Many observers state that the linking of Khalistan with Pakistan by the Indian government is a part of New Delhi’s effort to demonize and delegitimize internal freedom movements. It has used such rhetoric in Indian Occupied Kashmir, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland and other areas.

Read more: Khalistan factor defined Trudeau visit to India

Meanwhile, A delegation of 23 male and female Sikh Yatrees from Canada on Wednesday visited Gurudawara Babey Di Beri and thanked Pakistani government’s policies for the minority communities especially Sikhs. They highly hailed Pakistan’s sincere efforts for ensuring the religious freedom of the minorities and safeguarding the sacred places and Gurudawaras of the Sikh community in Pakistan.

Led by Jasveer Singh, the Sikh Yatrees refreshed their pre-partition memories. They also performed their religious rites and distributed sweets. They said that Pakistan was the peaceful country and the people of Pakistan were also very peace-loving. They said that the Pakistanis have given marvelous love, affection, care and unforgettable hospitality to them.


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