Billboards featuring images of Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Indian cricketer Navjoth Singh Sidhu surfaced in Amritsar. According to reports on Indian media, the hoardings were put up by loyalists of Sidhu across Amritsar city.
If Imran Khan's portrayal of Imran Khan on the road billboard in Amritsar is not a successful diplomacy, then he would be the name to call Modi on his granddaughter's marriage.
— ریاض احمد (@Riazraju381) November 6, 2019
PM @ImranKhanPTI’s role in promoting religious harmony & peace appreciated by the Sikh community across Amritsar as billboards went up appreciating his move to open up the Kartarpur corridor. A lot of excitement across the border before the official inauguration on the 9th of Nov pic.twitter.com/kjpLrtFGGN
— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 5, 2019
The hoardings hailed PM Imran Khan and Navjoth Singh Sidhu for the Kartarpur Corridor project. The message in a local language expressed love and affection for both the celebrated figures. The messages on the billboard cheered them as heroes for commencing a peace initiative between the two countries.
The media stated, the hoardings were put up by Amritsar Municipal Councillor Harpal Singh Verka who is known to be close to Sidhu. Sidhu, who is himself a Congress leader, is the staunch critics of PM Modi’s policies.
The billboards appeared on Tuesday afternoon but were taken down within an hour by the authorities.
Billboard with pictures of PM Imran Khan and Navjot Singh Sidhu displayed in Amritsar, India.
— Sabena Siddiqi (@sabena_siddiqi) November 6, 2019
PM @ImranKhanPTI’s role in promoting religious harmony & peace appreciated by Sikh community across Amritsar as billboards went up appreciating his move to open up the Kartarpur corridor. A lot of excitement across the border before the official inauguration on the 9th November pic.twitter.com/IFhagdVnCi
— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 5, 2019
“Imran Khan had asked his friend Navjot Singh Sidhu what he can do for him as he visited his swearing-in ceremony in Pakistan. Sidhu put forth a demand before Imran Khan for the Kartarpur corridor be opened for Sikh devotees. I put up hoardings of my own as I wanted to send out the message to the people about Sidhu’s role in getting the corridor opened,” Harpal Singh Verka said.
PM Khan’s Peace Initiative
Such a public display of affection and respect for PM Khan in India speaks volumes of his unprecedented popularity. The success of Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh devotees have garnered him immense reverence any Pakistani premier ever received in the hostile neighborhood.
The completion of the project within the said time just before the sacred event of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, has further hoisted the respect of Pakistan and Imran Khan among the Sikh community.
Master Harpal Singh, a Councillor from Verka who put up the posters says,"We wanted to congratulate the people who made it happen, Sidhu sahab aur Imran Khan. More posters are to be put tomorrow." #Amritsar https://t.co/imsx51YzC6 pic.twitter.com/QOVQay8Qdp
— ANI (@ANI) November 5, 2019
— 𝐼𝓂𝓇𝒶𝓃 𝐿𝒶𝓁𝒾𝓀𝒶 (@Lalika79) November 5, 2019
Pakistan had promised the Sikh community of completing the project before the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. PM Khan had asserted that instead of Wagah Border the Sikh community will be facilitated to travel Pakistan through Kartarpur Corridor this year, which is also the shortest route.
Ever since assuming the premiership, PM Khan made several attempts of restoring peace and friendly relations with India. He reached out to his Indian counterpart PM Modi to team up with him in restoring stability in the region.
But none of his peace gestures were reciprocated from India. Rather a crass move of abrogating Article 370 and 35-A, revoking the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir and enforcing curfew in the valley since August 5 has severely hurt PM Modi’s image across the world.
Pakistan is also looking forward to facilitating Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims who wish to visit Pakistan for religious purposes. Pakistan possesses several ancient Hindu and Buddhist monuments.
In the next phase, Pakistan is gearing up to refurbish these monuments to facilitate devotees of other religions.