Extremist groups are trying to “woo” and radicalize those arriving to Pakistan through the long-awaited visa-free Kartarpur Corridor launched several months ago, India’s police chief warned.
The 4.5km (2.7-mile) cross-border corridor used by India’s worshippers to visit a major Sikh holy site in Pakistan continues to pose “a huge security challenge” in terms of terrorism, Punjab State Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said at an Indian Express conference. He said that Pakistani-based extremists have made efforts to radicalize visitors while “trying to woo them, making overtures to them.”
Kartarpur offers a potential that you send somebody in the morning as an ordinary chap and by evening he comes back as trained terrorist actually. You are there for six hours, you can be taken to a firing range, you can be taught to make an IED.
“All those security concerns were put on the backburner” when the passage was launched, Gupta stated.
The corridor was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Indian side and his counterpart Imran Khan on the Pakistani side with much fanfare last November. Sikhs use it for visa-free travel to the shrine built where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, is believed to have died in the 16th century.
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Pakistani officials dismiss India’s concerns that the crossing will be exploited to fuel Sikh separatism in Punjab. During the opening ceremony in November, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the corridor is purely humanitarian without any “sinister designs.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited the corridor earlier this week, praising it as the “best symbol that we can give for a world in peace and for a world in which there is mutual respect.”
I was honoured to visit Pakistan’s newly opened Kartarpur Corridor – a corridor of hope, connecting two key Sikh pilgrimage sites.
This is a welcome symbol of interfaith harmony. pic.twitter.com/zqQa1Prnv3
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) February 18, 2020
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