New Delhi: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu landed up in another controversy after a photo of him posing with Khalistani terrorist Gopal Singh Chawla was uploaded on social media by the latter. Following the controversy, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal hit out at him saying, he doesn’t follow protocol and thinks everything is a laughter challenge. Also Read - India's NSA Ajit Doval Walks Out of SCO Meet as Pakistan Presents 'Fictitious Map' Showing Jammu and Kashmir as Its Own
Chawla, a senior leader of Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (PSGPC), is known as a pro-Khalistan voice. His involvement is also suspected in the recent attack on a Nirankari gathering in Amritsar in which three persons were killed. His presence at Kartarpur corridor event came as a last-minute surprise for India. Also Read - After Massive Uproar in Pakistan Over Gang-Rape Case, PM Imran Khan Suggests Chemical Castration & Public Execution For Rapists
The Sikh militant was also seen shaking hands with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the same event. He was also seen posing with the Pakistan PM and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Gobind Singh Longowal. “Indian media taking a myopic view is selectively showing Mr Gopal Singh meeting COAS. Army Chief met all guests at the venue irrespective of identity. A peace initiative should not be subjected to propaganda,” ISPR DG Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted. Also Read - Jammu and Kashmir: Pakistan Shells Mortars in Poonch District Along LoC, Indian Army Retaliates
Commenting on the development, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said: “Everybody talks about giving peace a chance. You see what the government said today. This (Kartarpur Corridor) is to be seen in isolation. It shouldn’t be linked to anything else.”
Earlier, Chawla was seen sharing dais with 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed. Meanwhile, at an event in Pakistan in 2017, Chawla talked of using organisations like Milli Muslim League, a political front for Saeed’s banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa, to ‘get rid of India’.
On the other hand, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing the gathering at Kartarpur Corridor ground ceremony, said his government, the army and all political parties in Pakistan are on the same page to improve ties with India, asserting that all issues, including Kashmir, can be resolved with “strength and will” of leadership of the two countries. He made a strong pitch for better ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Meanwhile, India termed Pakistan PM’s reference to Kashmir “deeply regrettable” and said he chose to politicise a pious moment. The Ministry of External Affairs said Jammu and Kashmir was an “integral and inalienable” part of India.
“It is deeply regrettable that the Prime Minister of Pakistan chose to politicise the pious occasion meant to realise the long pending demand of the Sikh community to develop a Kartarpur corridor by making unwarranted reference to Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral and inalienable part of India,” the ministry said.