Every year hundreds and thousands of Sikh devotees come from India and all over the world to Kartarpur to celebrate Baba Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary. Kartarpur is located in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province. Around three kilometers away from the border with India, Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located on the banks of River Ravi in Pakistan.
Kartarpur is the site where the founder of Sikhism, Baba Guru Nanak Sahib spent the last years of his before dying in 1539. Pakistan Government has inaugurated the 4.7 kilometers long, Kartarpur Corridor on the 550th birth anniversary (9th November 2019) of Baba Guru Nanak.
It was an arduous decision for the Prime Minister Imran Khan (PMIK) to open this corridor as Kashmiris are suffering from continuous curfew by the Indian police for more than three months. Even then PMIK stood for south Asia’s peace and continued his modus operandi. It is part of Khan’s Doctrine to settle every conflict through peace talks either in the case of Afghanistan or Kashmir.
The world does not want another Indian episode of drama in south Asia. The world seeks peace and peace of south Asia lies in the peace between Pakistan and India
PMIK has made it clear to India when he said; “There have been mistakes on both sides in the past, but we will not be able to move forward until we break the chains of the past. The past is there only to teach us, not for us to live in.” Even then Indian government is not ready to positively react and pay heed to peace gestures by Pakistan.
India Today reported, CM Punjab Amarinder Singh in an exclusive interview alleged that the Pakistan Army and the ISI were behind the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor. It is interesting to note that in February 2019, while the development work over the Kartarpur corridor was in full swing; both India and Pakistan were blaming each other for escalating tensions along the LoC after the Pulwama attack.
With the general elections in India just around the corner, BJP had used this as an opportunity to appease the Sikh community and weaken Indian National Congress’s foothold in the Punjab province. Considering the current hostile situation between the two neighbors, rather than constructing Kartarpur corridor as a peace gesture, Indian government has revert back to politicize the holy sites of Sikhism.
Read more: Kartarpur corridor: India backs out of talks
This corridor can not only serve as a gateway of religious and cultural diplomacy to promote peace and harmony by bringing people of the two countries together but also has the prospect of elevating tourism in Pakistan.
According to a study conducted by World Bank, it is analyzed that if facilities are provided in full scale and marketing strategy implemented effectively, religious tourism could exceed to 300,000 persons per year, yielding profits of up to $300 million annually. This can also help Pakistan to promote its soft image around the world.
Pakistan Government has inaugurated the 4.7 kilometer long, Kartarpur Corridor on the 550th birth anniversary (9th November, 2019) of Baba Guru Nanak
Rather than walking the path with Pakistan to protect the rights of the Sikhs and using it as a bridge to forge peace, India is using subversive tactics that not only demoralizing Pakistan but also the Sikh community. Former editor of RSS magazine “Organizer”, Seshadri Chari went even further and proposed a two-pronged approach to Hindu hardline BJP, which to me will only lead to a military confrontation between Pakistan and India.
He says; first, the government should constitute a strategic group that should devise an immediate action plan to frustrate Pakistan’s attempts to revive the Khalistan movement through ‘Referendum 2020’ by pushing militants (in the guise of pilgrims) via the corridor. Second, the group must work on a long-term, fool-proof plan to obtain physical control of Kartarpur Sahib and make it a part of Indian Punjab, as it was before Partition in 1947.
Read more: Evolution of the Kartarpur Initiative
This is empirical evidence of typical hardline Hindu mindset that has been at war with Pakistan since 70 years, and has never accepted the reality of Pakistan. It also shows that India is ready to engineer a direct military confrontation with Pakistan but will not allow Pakistan to provide rights to the Sikh community.
The world does not want another Indian episode of a drama in south Asia. The world seeks peace and peace of South Asia lies in the peace between Pakistan and India. If India continued its policy of obliterating peace initiatives of Pakistan, South Asia may never see peace.
Sabtain Ahmed Dar is pursuing his M Phil in International Relations from Department of Political Science, Punjab University. His area of study is Israeli geopolitics and he has written a thesis titled ‘The Clash of Islam and Zionism: The final clash before the End of History’. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.