Attari (Punjab), Jul 14 : India on Sunday mounted pressure on Pakistan to act against New York-based 'Sikhs for Justice(SFJ), which the Government of India has outlawed, and linked it to further progress in Kartarpur Corridor talks even as Islamabad has done a damage control exercise and removed Khalistani separatist leader Gopal Singh Chawla from its official panel.
After the crucial second round of talks held at Wagah on Pakistani side of the international border near here, SCL Das, the leader of Indian delegation and a joint secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, told reporters here that Pakistani delegation has been conveyed "in very emphatic terms" about all concerns on security related matters. "Pakistan side assured our delegation that no anti-India activity would be allowed," an MEA statement said giving details of the parleys on the modalities for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor at Wagah.
".....they will act on it...," Das said to a question at a media briefing on whether India trusts Pakistan on these assurances. "About security concerns, we have said earlier also and now I am repeating, it is a matter of paramount concern...There is no possibility of any let up from either side. There is no chance about this...," Mr Das said. Indian side handed over a dossier on security matters and a gazette notification copy of July 10 ban imposed on 'Sikhs for Justice' by the central government.
"On July 10, centre took a firm stand in pursuance of its 'zero tolerance' against terror and banned New York-based SFJ. It is an organisation of few people..," Mr Das said adding the organisation is doing an online campaign against India spreading dissatisfaction against Punjab and the nation as a whole.
He further said: "We have reports that the SFJ operates in Pakistan and especially in parts of Punjab in that country itself". "....We will definitely keep things under close watch and we will follow up on whatever we have said today. There is no let up in this....we will keep a very close watch on how things evolve," he said.
Pak on back foot
For its part, Pakistan though put on back foot vis-a-vis Khalistani Gopal Singh Chawla issue remained optimistic and termed Sunday's talks as "positive developments".
The Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and is aimed at ensuring a visa-free movement of pilgrims to pay homage at the Kartarpur Sahib, which was set up in 1522.
The first Sikh guru and the faith founder Guru Nanak Dev spent his last days there. "There are positive developments. Both sides have agreed 80 per cent and beyond regarding the Kartarpur corridor agreement," said Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman and DG South Asia Mohammad Faisal.
"This is a corridor of peace and we have planted a sapling of peace," he said. Faisal also tweeted a snap of him planting a sapling.
The first round of talks was held in Attari on March 14 despite the Pulwama terror attack. The second round of talks, which were originally scheduled on April 2, was cancelled by India after Pakistan nominated Khalistani separatist like Gopal Singh Chawla in a 10-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee (PSGPC).
Pakistan on Saturday dropped Chawla from its official panel on the corridor. The removal of Chawla is seen as 'a damage control' exercise by Imran Khan regime which has agreed for Kartarpur Corridor in November 2018.
Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi. At the Sunday's talks, the Pakistan delegation assured India that among other things that they will 'act' on the dossier.
"We have given them detailed information and we have sought confirmation that individuals like Gopal Chawla have indeed been removed bodies where we have objections to," said Das, the leader of the Indian delegation.
Mr Das said Pakistan delegation assured that they will take note of the material provided and dossier and including the gazette notification on New Delhi imposing ban on SJF on July 10. (UNI)