New Delhi: The cat is finally out of the bag. Confirming India’s worst fears about Indian Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan being subjected to pro-Khalistan propaganda to spread trouble in Punjab, the US-based pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) on Wednesday announced that it would hold a pro-Khalistan convention in Pakistan in November next year at Kartarpur Sahib and “sponsor 10,000 Sikh pilgrims from Punjab” to attend it.
The SFJ said the pilgrims would be briefed about attempts to break Punjab away from India. The SFJ is widely believed to be a stooge of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI which has been involved in attempts to ignite terrorism once again in Punjab.
The announcement is bound to ring alarm bells in the Indian security establishment particularly since the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism and the first Guru of the Sikhs Guru Nanak will be celebrated at Kartarpur Sahib next November for which thousands of Sikh pilgrims from India are expected to visit Pakistan. Guru Nanak had spent the last years of his life in the 16th century at Kartarpur Sahib. Indian security agencies have pointed out that the Pakistani ISI is trying to radicalise Sikh pilgrims and recruit them for the Khalistan cause, hoping that they will spread mayhem when they return.
The announcement came on the day when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan presided over the ground-breaking ceremony to build a corridor on the Pakistani side from the border to Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara for Sikh pilgrims. India is building a similar corridor on its territory up to the border.
The pro-Khalistan SFJ said they would brief Sikh pilgrims to be sponsored by them on the modalities of the (so-called) 2020 referendum, widely believed to be a ISI-sponsored campaign to get Punjab to break away from India.
It may be recalled that the terrorist Khalistan movement that rocked Punjab in the 1980s and early 1990s was finally smashed by the Punjab Police by 1994. The ISI is believed to be trying its level best to re-ignite the terror campaign by using the cloak of attempts to woo Sikh pilgrims.