Even as he thanked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for reciprocating India’s move on developing the Kartarpur corridor, the Chief Minister was scathing in his criticism of Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for “promoting state-sponsored terror through brutal killings of Indian soldiers and innocent citizens”.
He urged Imran Khan to rein in his Army and bring an immediate end to terror against Indian armed forces and citizens, “or else be ready to face a strong reaction from India, which has a bigger army than the neighbouring country”.
Taking a strong stand on the issue of terror, which was immediately endorsed and backed by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu who was present on the occasion of the foundation stone laying ceremony of a road link to the Kartarpur corridor, the Chief Minister said India was a land of peace but was prepared to counter Pakistan’s aggression in kind if continued to be threatened.
Lashing out at those who felt he should have accepted Pakistan’s invitation to participate in their ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor, Amarinder Singh asked how he could go there “when innocent Indian citizens and soldiers were being killed by them every day”.
“I want to go to Kartarpur and also visit Nankana Sahib and Panja Sahib gurdwaras again, but cannot go there as I have to pass Pakistan, which is killing my people every day.”
Pointing out that Punjab had seen bloodshed for 20 years, Amarinder Singh said that while his family had close ties with Kartarpur Sahib, he, as Chief Minister, had a responsibility to the people of his state, which Pakistan was trying to weaken.
Lashing out at the Pakistan Army chief, he said that as an ex-soldier himself he saw no justification in killing soldiers, which he described as “an act of cowardice, not becoming of Army personnel”.
“Soldiers are taught to protect and serve their nation, not to kill innocent people,” he said, seeking the immediate removal of Gen Bajwa and said the Pakistan Army should learn the message of love and brotherhood propounded by Guru Nanak Dev.
The Chief Minister recalled that the 26/11 Mumbai attacks was a grim reminder of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India.
He further pointed out that the Dina Nagar and Pathankot attacks in Gurdaspur district also stood out as major examples of the terror unleashed by Pakistan in Indian Punjab.
Describing terror as madness, Vice President Naidu said he fully endorsed Amarinder Singh’s views and vowed that India will not allow its people to be killed.
“While India wants peace and promotes friendship, it will not allow terrorism to breed on its soil,” Naidu said, urging countries that support terror to shun this path.
India wants peaceful relations with its neighbours and wanted them to change their mindset and embrace peace.