India on Wednesday expressed its displeasure over Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan raising the issue of Kashmir in his speech during the ground-breaking ceremony for the development of the Kartarpur Corridor. Hitting out at Khan for politicising the “pious occasion”, the Ministry of External Affairs said Kashmir was an integral and inalienable part of India.
“Deeply regrettable that Pakistan PM chose to politicise the pious occasion meant to realise the long pending demand of Sikh community to develop Kartarpur Corridor by making unwarranted reference to J&K, which is integral and inalienable part of India,” ANI quoted the MEA as saying.
The MEA further asked Pakistan to stop supporting cross-border terrorism and letting its soil be used for cessationist activities. “Pakistan is reminded that it must fulfil its international obligations and take effective and credible action to stop providing shelter and all kind of support to cross-border terrorism from territories under its control,” the ministry said.
After laying the foundation stone for the corridor, will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district, Khan said Pakistan wanted a “strong” and “civilised” relationship with India and both the countries could resolve all issues, including Kashmir, with determination.
“I am saying today, that our political leaders, our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward, we want a civilised relationship. We have just one problem, Kashmir. If a man can walk on the moon, what problems are there that we cannot resolve?” Khan said at the ceremony that was graced by Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Asserted that the two sides should not live in the past, Khan stressed the need for determination at the leadership level to solve the issues between the two nations. “I assure you that we can solve this problem. But determination and big dreams are necessary. Imagine, once trade begins, once our relationship is fixed, how much both nations could benefit,” he said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar came down heavily on Sidhu for praising Khan, saying at a time when Pakistan was indulging in terror activities, one required to be cautious about the choice of words. “The most objectionable thing in Sidhu’s Pakistan trip is that he referred to various domestic issues which are not done in any diplomatic relations. He praised Imran Khan more than what was due and praised him to the hilt,” ANI quoted Javadekar as saying.
“When Pakistan is indulging in all kinds of terror activities & cross-border terrorism, one needs to be very cautious about it. It is not an enthusiasm or a laughter challenge from Sidhu,” the minister said. Sidhu has also coughed up criticism from BJP and SAD for “disobeying” Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has said he had asked the former cricketer to reconsider his decision on going to Pakistan.
On Wednesday, Sidhu congratulated his ‘friend’ Khan for the Kartarpur Corridor initiative and hoped that there would be love and peace between both the nations. He said there had been enough bad blood and that the corridor would be a major opportunity to open the doors of the hearts of the people. “Mera yaar, dildaar, Imran Khan jive (may my friend Imran Khan thrive, live. He has been a good friend and delivered his promise,” Sidhu said.