Punjab CM sees `ulterior motive' in Pak's Kartarpur move

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday sounded caution on Pakistan's sudden decision to accept the 70-year-old demand to open Kartarpur Corridor, which, he said is aimed at pushing Pakistan-backed Khalistani groups into Punjab and revive a long-dead Khalistan movement.

Pakistan's move "indicated an ulterior motive" of driving a wedge in the Sikh community by exploiting religious sentiments, he stressed, adding that Punjab is on heightened alert to check any nefarious design of the neighbouring country.
Amarinder’s comments come amidst reports of terrorist training camps operating at Muridke, Shakargarh, and Narowal in Pakistan’s Punjab province, where “substantial number of men and women are reportedly camping and undergoing training”.
Intelligence agencies have reported terrorist training activities in the border district of Narowal in Pakistan’s Punjab province, where the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is also situated.
The intelligence alert come less than a week before the opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Indian pilgrims.
"The Sikh community had been asking for opening of the passage to the sacred Kartarpur shrine for the past 70 years, but Pakistan's sudden decision to accept the demand indicated an ulterior motive, aimed at driving a wedge in the Sikh community by exploiting their religious sentiments," the chief minister told reporters.
"While we do not expect Pakistan to dare to do any mischief through the Corridor, it is important that, as a border state, Punjab remains on alert," said the chief minister adding that the state was keeping close tabs on the situation and was maintaining heightened alert.
Singh also lashed out at Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), alleging it was "playing into the hands of the Badals" and had refused to support his government's programmes on the historic 550th Prakash Purb celebrations.
"Such major events had always, traditionally, been celebrated under the aegis of the state government, but the SGPC, at the behest of the Akalis, had refused to support the government's programmes this time," said the chief minister.
He said the Akalis have been "rejected" by the Sikh community in every election in the last three years, adding that Harsimrat Badal had barely managed to scrape through in the recent Parliamentary elections.
"The people had seen through their gimmicks and frustrated attempts to exploit religion for petty political gains," he said.
"It was unfortunate that the Akalis, under Sukhbir Badal and his wife and union minister Harsimrat Badal, were trying to divide the Sikh community while celebrating the biggest unifier the world had seen in Guru Nanak, who worked for inter-faith harmony and dialogue," he said.
The chief minister said his government had reached out to the SGPC to facilitate joint celebrations, but the religious body was clearly working on the Akali agenda.
Reacting to SGPC charges of inadequate efforts by the state government to ensure befitting celebrations on the occasion, the chief minister said all preparations have been made to make it a lifetime experience for the pilgrims.
Earlier, Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P Singh administered oath to the three newly elected legislators Raminder Singh Awla (Jalalabad), Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal (Phagwara) and Indu Bala (Mukerian), who had won in the recent by-elections.