Pakistan using 'jathas' to recruit Sikhs for pro-Khalistan stir against India: Report

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 08 July 2019, 08:29 AM

Ahead of the meeting between officials of India and Pakistan over the Kartarpur corridor on July 14, a report reveals how Islamabad is allegedly recruiting Sikhs for its pro-Khalistan drive against New Delhi. According to a report published by The Hindustan Times, the Indian intelligence agencies have unmasked the conspiracy, where Pakistan is using ‘jathas’ or pilgrimage groups of Sikhs travelling across border for its ‘recruitment’ drive. It comes after Indian officials arrested a suspected Pakistani spy near military facilities in Punjab last month. It was during the interrogation of one Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu that agencies got to know about the pattern of spy recruitment.

Sidhu was arrested in Punjab’s Faridkot for allegedly spying for Pakistan’s ISI. According to media reports, Sidhu, a resident of Moga used to pass on secret military information to the ISI via WhatsApp. In fact, Singh was arrested from the vicinity of an army installation, the media reports said. The suspected spy had gone to Pakistan in 2015 for a pilgrimage. It was during this pilgrimage that Singh came into contact of some Pakistanis. According to officials, Singh used WhatsApp to pass on information.

The HT report also added that many such ‘spies’ have been arrested in 2009, 2012 and 2013. There are around 18 Sikh shrines in Pakistan. They are located in Lahore, Sheikhpura, Nankana Sahib, Narowal and Hassan Abdal near Rawalpindi, the HT reports said. The Pakistani agencies have been actively working for what is being promoted as ‘2020 referendum’ on Khalistan.  

Earlier in June, two men for Gujarat’s Kutch region were arrested in a joint operation by the Anti-Terrorist Squads (ATS) of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh on suspicion of spying for the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. Based on the information obtained by the Uttar Pradesh ATS, two men were held from different parts of Kutch district of Gujarat, said a senior official of the ATS. The district borders on Pakistan. The UP ATS had last year claimed to have busted an espionage racket which targeted army units and arrested 11 persons.

On July 14 , India will try to resolve differences with Pakistan on issues relating Kartarpur corridor when the two sides hold talks on its implementation, the External Affairs Ministry said. "There are differences... We will try to resolve the differences in the meeting," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said during a media briefing. The first meeting to finalise the modalities for the corridor took place on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border on March 14. The July 14 meeting will be held on the Pakistan side of the Wagah border.

First Published: Monday, July 08, 2019 08:04 AM
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