Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has declined the invitation of Pakistan to attend the Kartarpur Corridor ceremony, reasoning the decision on the rising terrorist infiltration in the state and the killing of Indian Jawans on the line of the border. Meanwhile, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is a Minister in the Punjab government has responded on November 25, accepting the neighbor’s invitation 'with unalloyed joy' through a letter, where he mentioned that this is the first step by both the nations, and said that 'Kartarpur Spirit possibly breaks the barriers of history, opening the borders of the heart and mind.'
“As our two nations take this first step, the Kartarpur Spirit can make pilgrims of us all, venturing out on a journey that breaks the barriers of history and opens the borders of the heart and the mind. A journey that our people can walk together towards, a future of shared peace and prosperity for India and Pakistan,” Sidhu’s acceptance letter.
On the other hand, the Chief Minister Singh has declined the invitation to attend the foundation stone laying for the Kartarpur Corridor on the other side of the border, citing continued terrorist attacks in his state and killings of Indian soldiers by Pakistan armed forces. The chief minister stated this in a press release and in a tweet-
The chief minister said his reasons for declining the invitation were two-fold. Firstly, not a day passes when Indian soldiers are not killed or wounded on the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, adding that “Rather than moving towards normalcy these incidents are escalating.” Captain Amarinder pointed out that a few months ago, his battalion lost one Major and two jawans in an ambush laid on the Indian side of the line of control.
Secondly, said the Chief Minister, the ISI has started its nefarious activities within Punjab and since his government was sworn in, in March 2017, the state had neutralized 19 ISI armed and controlled modules, apprehended 81 terrorists and recovered 79 weapons, in addition to numerous grenades of the HG 84 type made in Pakistan’s Ordnance factories, with Austrian know-how, along with seizure of some IEDs.
“The last attack was in Amritsar last Sunday, on a peaceful religious congregation in one of our villages, in which 3 men were killed and 19, including women and children, were wounded,” Captain Amarinder further pointed out, adding that both terrorists had since been caught.
“I hope the Prime Minister will understand that under these circumstances it will not be possible for me to be present in Pakistan on this historic occasion, despite the fact that paying my respects at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib has always been my cherished dream which will hopefully be fulfilled once these hostilities and killings are stopped,” the Chief Minister has stated.
In conclusion, the chief minister expressed the hope that the Pakistani PM Imran Khan “will do all he can to bring our two countries together on the road to peace and friendship.”
On November 24, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had also extended an invitation to his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh along with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu to Pakistan to attend the ground-breaking ceremony at Kartarpur on November 28, 2018.