Birmingham/New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh strongly advocated for peace and friendship with Pakistan to enable both countries to move forward towards development and progress, but made it clear that India would not allow ISI-backed forces such as the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) to disturb its harmony and stability.
The Chief Minister on Sunday addressed the Indian diaspora on the sacred occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Addressing the diaspora, the Chief Minister called for cordial and friendly relations with neighbors to promote peace, in line with Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's philosophy, for the collective resolution of global problems.
"Both India and Pakistan had been through a lot, and it was time now for them to let go of the past and move forward in the spirit of friendship to ensure their respective progress," he stressed.
Citing the Kartarpur Corridor as a beginning towards better relations between India and Pakistan, Captain Amarinder hoped it would set the stage for the opening of other important religious shrines in Pakistan to Indians seeking `khulle darshan deedar.'
Speaking to press Captain Amarinder said, "SFJ was a hardcore terrorist group, with no ideological basis for its campaign, and had to be treated as such.
Describing SFJ's so-called legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannu as a fraud, operating under the directions of Pakistan's ISI, the Chief Minister said Pannu's sole motive was to divide the Sikhs, and India, to promote the ISI agenda.
Referring to the terror modules busted in Punjab in the past couple of years, along with large-scale arrests and seizure of weapons, he said these had exposed SFJ's intentions, but both the Punjab government and the Indian government were dealing with it with an iron hand.
Pointing to Guru Nanak's philosophy of oneness of God, the Chief Minister underlined the need to rise above religion and caste to protect the future and facilitate the development of Punjab and its people. His government, said Captain Amarinder, would continue with the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations for another year to disseminate the message of the Great Guru," he added.
The Chief Minister sought the Indian diaspora's help and support in enabling the industrial growth of Punjab, which he stressed needed to be weaned away from the water-guzzling paddy crop.
Indians, especially the Sikh community, had worked hard to contribute to the society of whichever country they had chosen to settle in, and it was time now for them to look back at their roots, said Captain Amarinder, urging them to invest in Punjab's economic growth.
Captain Amarinder invited Indians in the UK to the Progressive Punjab Investors' Summit, which will be held on December 5-6 to help the state make its much-needed shift from agriculture to industry for its economic progress and for the generation of employment for the youth.
He reiterated his demand seeking waiver of passport condition and the USD 20 fee for travel through the Kartarpur Corridor, pointing out that India had never imposed any such tax on those visiting Ajmer Sharif and Nizamuddin Dargah from across the border.