Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has accused the Pakistan army of helping Kashmiri terrorists move into his state and carry out terror attacks in collaboration with local elements. “They are trying to bring Kashmiri terrorists and Punjabi terrorists together… It is not Imran Khan doing it, I am sure, it is his army. So, unless he keeps his army under control, we will have no option but to deal with them,” he told NDTV in an exclusive interview today.
The Chief Minister had cited Pakistan’s role in terror attacks to reject its invitation to the ground-breaking ceremony for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor on Wednesday.
Mr Singh claimed that Kashmiri and Punjabi terrorists were tying up for the first time under the Pakistan army’s patronage, and students were being influenced too. “We have about 6,000 Kashmiris studying in our colleges — good boys and girls — and they are no trouble. But we have busted two terror modules in their midst, one with four people and another with two,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that while there have been logistical collaborations between terrorists from the two states in the past, this is the first time an “armed tie-up” has come to light. “We came across them in college, saw them pick up weapons, and followed them into their hostels, where we caught them with additional weapons and additional explosives. And this has happened twice. Now, this doesn’t mean that all the 6,000 youngsters who’re studying here (mean us any harm). They are very disciplined and everything is going fine there, but terror groups are trying to put people in and mix them up,” he added.
Mr Singh told NDTV that it pains him to see students do such things when the Punjab government has welcomed them with open arms. “As I said, they are doing a good job. But four or five students among the 6,000 studying here did this,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that he could not accept Pakistan’s invite to the Kartarpur corridor foundation stone-laying ceremony in good conscience when terrorists from across the border continue to target civilians and security personnel in his state. “While I welcome the Kartarpur initiative, I cannot — as the chief minister of Punjab — shift my vision completely to that while terrorists come here and kill our people. I am grateful to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for the Kartarpur corridor, but his army has no business doing this here,” he added.
Mr Singh, however, said he had no objection to Navjot Singh Sidhu — a minister in his cabinet — accepting the invite to attend the ceremony. “Sidhu is not sending contradictory signals, he is a friend of Imran Khan.”