‘We must not allow sentiments to get the better of us’
WHILE THE CONFLICT SITUATION CONTINUES TO ESCALATE IN J&K APPARENTLY DUE TO PAKISTAN’S COVERT PARTICIPATION, IN PUNJAB THERE IS NEW CHAPTER OF INDO-PAK BONHOMIE THAT IS UNFOLDING THROUGH THE KARTARPUR CORRIDOR PROJECT THAT WOULD HELP THE SIKH DEVOTEES REALISE THEIR DREAM OF PAYING OBEISANCE AT THE HISTORIC GURDWARA IN PAKISTAN WHERE GURU NANAK DEV JI SPENT LAST 18 YEARS OF HIS LIFE. THE BOLD INITIATIVE THAT CAME FROM PAKISTAN TOOK THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT BY SURPRISE, THOUGH THERE HAS BEEN A SHY DEMAND FOR OPENING UP OF THE CORRIDOR FROM THE INDIAN SIDE FOR QUITE SOME TIME. IS IT PURELY A RELIGIOUS GESTURE BEING MADE BY PAKISTAN ? OR IS IT A COVER TO SOME NEFARIOUS PLAN TO OUTWIT THE INDIAN SIDE ? FORMER CHIEF OF THE ARMY STAFF GEN VP MALIK, WHO HAD SAVOURED THIS DUAL GAME OF PAKISTAN WHILE LEADING THE KARGIL WAR, HAS HIS OWN MIND ON THE MATTER THAT HE SHARES IN AN INFORMAL CONVERSATION WITH DAILYPOST EDITOR AJAY BHARDWAJ. EXCERPTS;
Q : How do you view the opening up of the Kartarpur corridor giving an undreamt of opportunity to the Sikh devotees to visit the historic shrine across the border ?
A : I am not against the corridor but have strong reservations over the entire exercise as an army person. Not because I don’t respect the our people’s sentiments. But the way entire gameplan has unfolded quickly after the coming of Imran Khan as prime minister of Pakistan has left me wondering what could possibly be the real motive.
Q : What kind of suspicion rankles your mind ?
A : There is no gainsaying the fact that Imran Khan is doing it at the behest of the Pakistan Army.
Now, has the Pakistan Army become suddenly enamored with the Sikhs ?
A: An army officer I have strong apprehensions that it might be a well-orchestrated plan to precipitate the divisive feelings in our society and hence try creating a divide in our country. One has to be extra cautious about it all. We need to see what could be Pakistan’s long-term plan and design behind this move. After all, we cannot overlook the fact that Pakistan has been harboring divisive elements that are instrumental in disrupting peace here. India needs to be extra cautious about the manner Pakistan has been going overboard with the project.
Q : You think India has succumbed to the Pakistan ploy in this matter ?
A : I have nothing to say on that. It is purely the government’s decision how much and how far would it like to go. I am just talking with the Army experience that I have.
Q : Does it remind you of the Kargil days when Pakistan was building bridges with the Vajpayee government and at the same time plotting Kargil intrusion?
A : This was a tactical game plan. But here in the Kartarpur corridor the intense involvement of devotees and their sentiments lends it a different shade. After the Kargil war, our security agencies must be watchful of the possible designs of Pakistan. We must not allow our sentiments to get the better of us.
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