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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Pakistan imposing ‘jazia’ on Kartarpur pilgrims, says SAD

Senior SAD leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan backtracked on his earlier promise of free travel for Kartarpur pilgrims and if Islamabad doesn’t take back the decision, the Punjab government should bear the cost of pilgrimage.

punjab Updated: Sep 16, 2019 07:14 IST
Mohit Khanna
Mohit Khanna
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal with others at  a rally at Chappar Mela, Jagraon, Punjab, Septemer 13, 2019.
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal with others at a rally at Chappar Mela, Jagraon, Punjab, Septemer 13, 2019.(HT Photo )
         

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday condemned the Pakistan government’s decision to charge Rs 1,400 per pilgrim as service charge for using the upcoming Kartarpur corridor, saying the neighbouring country is trying to impose ‘jazia’ (a tax non-Muslims pay under Sharia law) on Indian devotees.

Addressing the media on the sidelines of a rally at annual Chappar Mela in Ludhiana district’s Jagraon sub-division, senior party leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan backtracked on his earlier promise of free travel and if they don’t take back the decision, the Punjab government should bear the cost of pilgrimage.

“This will put financial burden on lakhs of pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, many of whom might not be well-off,” said the SAD leader.

SAD president and Ferozepur MP Sukhbir Singh Badal thanked the Centre, particularly PM Narendra Modi, for pruning the controversial blacklist of Sikh foreign nationals who were barred from travelling to India for decades.

“Of 314 people, the name of 312 people has been removed from the blacklist. Now these people can visit their homeland,” he said.

‘Capt has no right to give water to Haryana’ 

Referring to chief minister Amarinder Singh’s statement on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal while addressing the rally earlier, Sukhbir said the CM does not have any right to give an extra drop of water to the neighbouring Haryana.

“The Akali Dal will not let state’s water go to Haryana at any cost. The CM was part of a conspiracy to give the Punjab waters to Haryana as he welcomed then PM Indira Gandhi when she came to inaugurate the canal project in Punjab,” he said.

Referring to the probe into 2015 sacrilege incidents, he accused the CM of running a malicious campaign to defame him. “I am a true Sikh. I will prefer to die instead of indulging in such sinful thing. The Congress is the least qualified to talk on the issue as it committed the biggest sacrilege by rolling tanks into the Golden Temple in 1984,” he said.

Sukhbir said the bypolls will set the tone for the next assembly elections. “We have identified 12,000 villages in the state which if we come to power will have streetlights, sewerage and road network. The Congress has not done anything so far. We will bring truckloads of grants for people of the state if voted to power,” he said.

First Published: Sep 14, 2019 01:07 IST