Intelligence agencies have expressed apprehension about possible terrorist attacks even before the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor scheduled for 9 November following a series of discussions between India and Pakistan. Central intelligence agencies have issued a warning citing militant bases in the Narowal district of Pakistan along the international border. A recent US report corroborated the intelligence input, saying Pakistani terrorists were raring for an attack on India.
A Central intelligence source said, “Terrorist training camps have been found in Muridke, Shakargarh and Narowal in the Punjab province of Pakistan.” It is also learned that men, as well as women, are being trained in these terrorist bases. The handlers and the executors of terrorist plans would make use of the Pakistani mobile telephony network along the border in Indian Punjab as the network has a range of 5-7 km into the territory of India, the intelligence report says.
On 31 August, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said the Narendra Modi government was committed to completing the Kartarpur Corridor within the stipulated time. The assurance of the home minister had come a day after India and Pakistan held a meeting of the technical committee at the Zero Point in Gurdaspur in Punjab on the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, amid fresh tensions between the two countries after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was scrapped.
The statement of Shah made it clear that the Modi government did not share the apprehension of BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy about the Kartarpur Corridor. Swamy had, a week before Shah’s statement, said that the work on the Kartarpur Corridor project should be stopped in the interest of the nation and there should be no talks with Pakistan on any issue. “In my view, in the interest of the nation, the work (on the Kartarpur corridor) should not move ahead. Whatever work has taken place (on the project), let it stop there,” he had said, talking to reporters on the sidelines a seminar in Chandigarh. The Sikh community led by the Shiromani Akali Dal had howled in protest against Swamy’s statement.
The Modi government has apparently been under the pressure of Sikh politics in India, as it had to cut short the negotiations with Pakistan to reach the Kartarpur agreement. India agreed also to let Sikh pilgrims from this country pay a fee of $ 20 each for registration at the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara. India gave up opposing the stubborn insistence of Pakistan for the fee under the domestic political compulsion of yielding to lakhs of Indian Sikhs who wish to visit the shrine of Guru Nanak.
Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday will be celebrated on 12 November. To commemorate the occasion, the Kartarpur Corridor is being inaugurated a few days in advance: on 9 November. Once this corridor is opened, the Dera Baba Nanak of Gurdaspur in Punjab will be directly connected with the shrine in Pakistani territory.
The distance from the international border to Kartarpur is about 5 km. A group of six Sikh pilgrims left for Lahore last Thursday.