Stirring a controversy ahead of the opening of the Kartarpur corridor on November 9, Pakistan on Monday has released an official video for the Kartarpur corridor which has photos of the pro-Khalistani leaders Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Amrik Singh Khalsa and Major General (Dismissed) Shabeg Singh in the background. The video which shows pilgrims heading to Pakistan to visit the Nankana Sahib Gurudwara also features the posters of the afore-mentioned leaders pinned to the side of a building. Pakistan has also released two other videos featuring clips of devotees, with the 'Khalistan 2020' poster in the background.
The three pro-Khalistani leaders were killed in 1984 as a part of Operation Blue Star. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale headed a religious organisation called Damdami Taksal and Amrik Singh Khalsa headed the now-banned student body -All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSD). Meanwhile, Shabeg Singh who was reportedly one of Bhindranwale's key adviser and a dismissed army officer.
Pakistan's support to the pro-Khalistan movement has been a constant bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Earlier in March, India had categorically expressed its displeasure over the appointment of pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla in the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Committee. Chawal is also known to be the right-hand man of 26/11 mastermind and UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed. Succumbing to pressure in July, Pakistan ahead of the India-Pakistan meeting over the Kartarpur corridor removed Chawla from the committee.
Meanwhile, on October 24, India and Pakistan signed a landmark agreement to operationalise the historic Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. The corridor will be opened by Pakistan on November 9. Both the countries have also decided that the corridor will be operational throughout the year and seven days a week and that pilgrims will have a choice to visit it as individuals or in groups. Pakistan has finally waived the $ 20 service fee per pilgrim on Friday, after facing severe criticism for not doing so. But, Pakistan is yet to approve the complete list of the pilgrims to visit Kartarpur on November 9.