Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday met pro-Khalistan leader and Jaish chief Masood Azhar’s aide Gopal Singh Chawla.
The meet has come at a time when Indian and Pakistani officials at are scheduled to meet at Attari to finalise modalities of the corridor to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara on Thursday.
The Attari meet will be the first-ever meeting on the issue, coming amid heightened tensions between both countries in the wake of Pulwama terror attack. The delegation will also discuss the alignment of the project as there is some mismatch in the coordinates.
Earlier, Gopal Chawla had met Pakistan’s army chief on the sidelines of a ceremony launching the Kartarpur corridor.
The pro-Khalistan leader was caught on camera as Pakistan army chief General Qamar Bajwa greeted him warmly.
A spokesperson for the Pakistan army had said Bajwa “met all guests at the venue irrespective of identity”.
Officials from Home, External Affairs and other ministries concerned of the two countries ar likely to attend the meeting. Sources said that security aspect was of paramount importance and there will be no dilution in that.
They also said that Pakistan will also be conveyed that places of pilgrimage should not be used for separatist propaganda by anti-India elements.
There have also been reports that Khalistan separatist groups could use the corridor route to push terrorists.
The Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, located 4.5 km from the border near the Dera Baba Nanak town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, is significant for the Sikh community as it is here that the faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life and was his final resting place.
The governments of India and Pakistan are trying to facilitate the travel of pilgrims to offer prayers at the gurdwara – a demand made by the Sikhs for the past over 70 years.