If India and Pakistan were moving towards a détente, the Kartarpur Corridor would have been an excellent initiative to give a fillip to the process.
Alas, the intention of Pakistan behind this very noble project is nothing but ignoble.
Design on Kartarpur
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has of course given a positive spin to the entire Corridor project. He has called it a bridge between the people of the two countries. What is more, he has thanked (or did he troll?) the 'selected' Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan 'Niazi'.
But given the congenital inimicality that Pakistan displays towards India, it would be plain foolish for anyone in India to even imagine something good coming out from the Kartarpur Corridor.
The Pakistani intentions regarding Kartarpur have been clear from day one. The project is not the brainchild of Imran Khan, but of his puppeteers - Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and his infamous intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
This in itself should remove all doubt of the sinister agenda of the Pakistani 'deep state'. The Pakistanis see Kartarpur as an instrument they can use to drive a wedge between the Sikh community and the rest of India. If there was ever any doubt about the evil intentions of Pakistan, then the 'official' welcome song video carrying images of notorious terrorists should have put them to rest.
A signboard within the Gurdwara claiming that the Indian Air Force had targeted the Darbar Sahib during the 1971 War takes Pakistan's poisonous and insidious anti-India propaganda to the next level.
While this game of subversion will be long-drawn before it yields anything to Pakistan if at all, it has started receiving some traction within Punjab where posters lauding Imran Khan and Pakistan's catspaw, Navjot Singh Sidhu, are being lauded as heroes of the Sikh community.
Pakistan clearly senses an opportunity to create trouble in Punjab.
Towards this end, over the last few years, they have been doubling down on efforts to sow dissension and disaffection among the Sikhs, all the while pretending to be friends of the Sikh community. Of course, Pakistani professions of friendship, even kinship, with Sikhs are nothing but dissembled.
The Pakistanis pretend that their hearts are overflowing with love for the Sikhs (yes, the same Sikhs who they massacred during Partition, expelled from what is now Pakistan, have lampooned for decades and derided the Sikh kingdom under Maharaja Ranjit Singh as 'Sikhashahi') and that is why they agreed to the long-standing request of the Sikhs for free and unfettered access to Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Kartarpur.
But how come, if the Pakistanis are so beholden to Sikhs, they haven't accepted the other demand to make Nankana Sahib an international city with a Vatican-like status?
No love for Sikhs
Clearly, the Pakistani objective is to beguile the Sikhs and derive two benefits while doing so: One, create trouble in India; two, laugh their way to the bank while bleeding the enemy.
The irony of this pernicious plot is that after having ethnically and religiously cleansed the areas that constitute Pakistan of Sikhs and Hindus, the Pakistanis want to profit from the Sikhs and give a boost to their bankrupt economy. Kartarpur alone will inject at least $100 million every year in the Pakistani economy when you add the fees being charged from pilgrims, the offerings at the Gurdwara, and the other money that will be spent by those going on pilgrimage.
A bulk of this money will be siphoned off by the Pakistanis to fund the terrorism in Punjab. In other words, Indians will end up financing the murder and mayhem that Pakistan has been plotting against it. It isn't as though people in the Indian security establishment are not aware of Pakistan's nefarious plans.
India must be careful
There is, however, quiet confidence that while Pakistan will try its damnedest best, it will still fail because apart from a tiny fringe, hardly anyone in the Sikh community will be swayed by Pakistan's bamboozle. However, the problem is that there is no way India can control what happens once people cross over in their thousands into Pakistani territory.
The sheer magnitude of people going makes it virtually impossible to keep a tab on everyone crossing into Pakistan. Once in Pakistan, they will be subjected to unrelenting, if also vile, propaganda. Add to this the fact that there is no way to keep a check on what messages are delivered, what instructions are given, what training is imparted to those susceptible to Pakistani wiles.
After India has upped the ante in Jammu and Kashmir by ending the special status of the erstwhile state, Pakistan will be even more unrestrained in lighting new fires in India.
Willy-nilly, the Corridor is stuck in India's throat. Closing it will invite a huge backlash. Persisting with it means bracing for the troubles that Pakistan will create. The real challenge for the Indian state is to figure out how it can turn this corridor to its own advantage and catch Pakistan in the trap that it laid for India.
(Courtesy of Mail Today)