In light of the raging controversy over Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu's continued politicisation of his infamous embrace with Pak Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, particularly over the purported offer by Pakistan to open the Kartarpur Sahib corridor for Indians sans-visa, which the government of India has clarified is non-existent, the Congress has now taken matters to an entirely new level with a 'land-swap' demand.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa has written to the Prime Minister beseeching him to hold bilateral talks with Pakistan and propose to transfer the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor to India in return for an alternate piece of land.
The letter reads:
"Dear Shri Narendra Modi Sahib,
I am writing to bring to your attention an urgent matter of great sentimental and symbolic value to Sikhs across the world.
As you know, next year will be the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. Ever since Partition, Sikhs on our side of the border have been unable to celebrate the anniversary to its fullest -- with a visit to Kartarpur Sahib. The shrine is located just 2 miles across the international border, and is where Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent 18 years of his life. Every year, pilgrims flock to the 'Skaktisthal', an elevated platform erected at Dara Baba Nanak (distt. Gurdaspur) on the Indo-Pak border so that they can catch a glimpse of Kartarpur Sahib. There have even been proposals to install high-powered binoculars. It pains me to see such desperation in the eyes of the faithful. Guru Nanak stood for compassion and universal brotherhood, and we must honour his memory and put aside our differences to ensure everyone can share in his glory.
On the 8th of December, 2011, I raised this issue in the Lok Sabha in my capacity as a Member, and I now do so to you. It is my request that you, Sir, initiate bilateral talks with Pakistan on this issue and propose to transfer the Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib corridor to India, in return for an alternate piece of land. Such a deal has a historical precedent -- in 1962, we swapped Indian land for the area around Hussainiwala in Punjab, which housed the cremation site of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. I offer this as an alternative to visa-free access, so as to negate any national security concerns that may arise. I beseech you -- show your commitment to Sikhs across India, give us a gift worthy of the occasion and ensure that Sikhs from across the world can come together and celebrate.
I offer my help, in this noble endeavour, in any capacity you may need."
The letter by Partap Singh Bajwa came on the day (September 17) that Navjot Singh Sidhu was reportedly 'reprimanded' by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for two reasons, viz. for politicising the Kartarpur corridor issue and for his conduct in Pakistan, especially his hug with the Pakistan Army chief.