Controversial leader and Pakistan railway minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has once again made a provocative statement saying that had things been his way he would have named the station in Kartarpur for Sikh pilgrims as ‘Khalistan.’ News agency IANS has quoted sources as saying that India will convey to Pakistan that places of pilgrimage should not be used for separatist propaganda by anti-India elements.
This is not the first occasion when Ahmad made such provocative statement, previously he had threatened that if tensions between India and Pakistan escalates then bells may not ring in temples anymore.
Ahmad’s shocking statement came as officials from India and Pakistan yesterday held “detailed and constructive” discussion on the Kartarpur corridor, which will allow Indian pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib inside Pakistan through a dedicated corridor. Notably, the meeting in Attari held on Thursday came exactly a month after the suicide attack in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed.
“Both sides held a detailed and constructive discussion on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalizing the Kartapur Sahib Corridor,” a joint press statement issued after the meeting said.
“Both sides also held expert-level discussions between the technical experts on the alignment and other details of the proposed corridor,” the statement said. The next meeting will take place at Wagah on April 2.
Last year, the Federal Minister for Railways had announced that the Pakistan government would give land to Sikh organisations for constructing hotels in Kartarpur, Nankana Sahib and Narowal, and a railway station in Kartarpur for the pilgrims.
Ahmad had also said that the Pakistan Railways had offered 10 acres of land each in Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had on November 28, 2018, inaugurated the Kartarpur corridor.
Situated in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara holds high importance for the Sikh community as it is here that Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life and is his final resting place.