Connecting pilgrims to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with the Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, Kartarpur corridor is all set to operationalize soon. The corridor, which will allow the visa-free movement of pilgrims to the Kartarpur Gurudwara would be accessible to the Indian devotees after paying a whopping fee of $20.
That’s that, however, aware of Pakistan’s notorious past, it is necessary to mull if the opening of the Kartarpur corridor will help Pakistan fund the terrorism that it waters on its land.
Separatists Featured In Welcoming Video
Days before the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor, Pakistan had released a video to welcome pilgrims to the shrine. However, the video sparked controversy as it showcased a billboard of three slain Khalistani leaders, including Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who revolted against India in the 1980s.
While Bhindranwale led the Sikh militancy in the 80s, separatist Maj Gen Shabeg Singh joined the Khalistan movement after being stripped from the Indian Army. And Amrik Singh Khalsa was a student. The three separatists were cornered and killed by the Indian Army in 1984 in an operation at the Golden Temple.
The poster of the three separatists in Pakistan hints its intention of brewing separatists sentiments among the people in Punjab. And people can’t agree more.
The video as it went viral evoked comments from multiple barons including, Punjab’s Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who told ANI, “All this is what I have been warning about since day one, that Pakistan has a hidden agenda here.”
Last year, just after Pakistan had revealed its plans about Kartarpur, Captain had said everyone should be “wary” as it would attempt to revive militancy.
Following Captain’s comment, the Indian government must be careful while handling Pakistan and Kartapur Corridor side by side.
Where Will The Funds Go?
Moreover, once the corridor is operationalized it will be necessary to keep an eye on how Pakistan uses the funds it collects from the Indian pilgrims which it quotes as a fee to visit the Kartapur Gurudwara.
Pakistan will charge $20 from devotees for visiting the Gurudwara. As it’s allowing 5,000 pilgrims daily, Pakistan will earn $100,000/day, and approximately $36 million every year. So, devotees are not only filling the empty treasury of cash-strapped Pakistan but might also be funding terrorism inadvertently.
Although Pakistan had said it would use the funds on maintaining the ‘only’ 4-km long corridor, however, what Pakistan says and what it does are two sides of the same coin.