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Islamabad drops pro-Khalistan member from Kartarpur panel

Following objections from India, the Pakistan government on Friday announced a new 10-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) without Chawla, who was its general secretary.

india Updated: Jul 14, 2019 09:31 IST
HTC and Agencies
HTC and Agencies
AMRITSAR/ NEW DELHI
pro-Khalistan,Gopal Singh Chawla,Kartarpur corridor
Machines at work beyond the border fence for the construction of the Indian side of Kartarpur corridor, in Gurdaspur district.(PTI Photo)

Islamabad has dropped pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla from a panel linked to the Kartarpur corridor ahead of the second round of talks on Sunday at Wagah between Indian and Pakistani officials to finalise modalities of the corridor, officials aware of developments said.

Following objections from India, the Pakistan government on Friday announced a new 10-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) without Chawla, who was its general secretary.

The panel will coordinate the activities of the Kartarpur corridor, including the movement of Sikh pilgrims from Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak.

Media reports, however, said another pro-Khalistan leader, Ameer Singh, had been included in the panel. He is said to be the brother of known Khalistan leader, Bishen Singh, and among the frontline leaders of the Khalistan movement in Pakistan.

Earlier, the two countries were slated to meet on April 2 for the second round of talks. But it was put off after reports that Pakistan had appointed “controversial elements” in a panel associated with the corridor. The first round of talks was held on March 14.

According to the officials cited above, the issues to be discussed at Sunday’s meeting include infrastructure, documentation, whether pilgrims are required to travel in groups or individually, whether by foot or bus, and facilities to ensure smooth, safe and unhindered movement.

“We are going for the meeting with high expectations. Our side of the corridor will be ready and we hope the other side is coming up with a matching response,” an official said in New Delhi on condition of anonymity.

First Published: Jul 14, 2019 07:26 IST