CHANDIGARH: Punjab Assembly has passed a resolution suggesting swapping of land with Pakistan to bring the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara across the border within Indian territory. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the proposed corridor would be a “bridge of peace”, however, reiterated that he would go there only when Pakistan stops weaponising Kashmiri terrorist groups in Kashmir and “ISI stops designs to spread terror in Punjab.” He also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the initiative.
While members of Opposition parties, Aam Aadmi Party and Shiromani Akali Dal reacted sharply to Singh's remarks, urging him to not link the Corridor issue with terrorism, BJP MLA Som Parkash and Congress MLA Raj Kumar Verka however, said Amarinder Singh's concerns cannot be ignored. The resolution was initially aimed at praising the efforts of the Punjab government and the Centre for opening a cross-border passage to facilitate Indian Sikh pilgrims in visiting the gurdwara on the banks of Ravi in Pakistan. However, Akali Dal Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal demanded that land swap with the neighbour be made a part of the resolution, during a discussion in the House. The House accepted the suggestion and passed the resolution unanimously.
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, MLA from Dera Baba Nanak, from where the corridor is proposed to start, suggested land from his constituency could be handed over to Pakistan in the swap. The resolution, read out loud by the CM, said, “This House records its appreciation for the efforts made by the Government of Punjab and Government of India to open Kartarpur Corridor and urges upon the Government of India to hasten completion of works to operationalise the corridor well before the 550th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in November 2019 in keeping with the long pending demand of Punjabis, while ensuring that hard earned peace of Punjab is not disturbed in any manner.”
Amarinder Singh said he was a devout Sikh who held religion in reverence and was very happy as pilgrims would be able to visit the Sikh shrine where Guru Nanak Dev spent his last 18 years. “On the other side, there is my Punjab. I will not let more blood spill,” he said, adding that there was “politics to mislead” by SAD president to suggest that he was opposed to the corridor. He said, “I am Sikh and Chief Minister. [As CM] my duty is to safeguard the state,” he said referring to busting of busting of “Pakistani terror modules and arrest of terrorists sent by Pakistan.”
“This is not done. I will take all the harshest measures. I will not let bloodshed happen again in Punjab.”