After learning that Pakistan has included controversial Khalistani sympathiser Gopal Singh Chawla and Bishen Singh on the Kartarpur panel, India Friday summoned the neighbouring country’ deputy high commissioner and conveyed its concerns.
Sources in the government said Gopal Singh Chawala, who allegedly also has close ties with Lashkar-e-Taiba’s co-founder and terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed, is on the special 10-member committee of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (PSGPC) that will “help facilitate” the visit of Indians pilgrims at the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara.
The Ministry of External Affairs, it is learnt, said, “India has sought clarifications on reports that controversial elements have been appointed by Pakistan to a committee to be associated with the Kartarpur corridor.”
The MEA added they have also conveyed to their counterpart that the next meeting on modalities would be scheduled only after they receive a response from the neighbouring country over the indicated concerns.
The two sides were earlier scheduled to meet on April 2.
Regarding security concerns, government sources told news agency ANI, “There can’t be any let up in security. India hopes Pakistan will address security concerns. Once the security aspect is cleared and we get a satisfactory response, we are keen on taking the discussion forward.”
India has cleared its stand on Kartarpur Corridor not being used for anti-India activities including secessionist activities or propoganda, adding it is only a passage for pilgrims to travel safe and in a secure manner.
At the last meeting in Attari with Pakistan, India had proposed to hold another meeting of technical experts in mid-April to resolve outstanding issues in order to ensure the infrastructure development of the corridor in an expeditious manner.
India, in its proposal, has asked Pakistan to allow pilgrims to travel on foot if they wish. It also urged that another 10,000 pilgrims be allowed access on festivals like Baisakhi and Gurupurab.
In November last year, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.