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"Pakistan Punjab to commemorate martyrdom of Guru Arjan


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Guest Punjabi Nationalist

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"Pakistan Punjab will commemorate

the June 2006, 400th martyrdom anniversary

of Guru Arjan Dev in Lahore"

says Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi

-- --------

Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi also calls

for a Amritsar-Lahore dosti bus &

announces the construction of a road

linking Nankana Sahib

with the Lahore-Lyalpur motorway

& other improvements for convenience of Sikh pilgrims

----------

Former Election Commissioner Sirdar M. S. Gill

also calls for a bus service from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib

and other proactive policies to safeguard Sikh Punjab's interests

BY

Dr. Amarjit Singh

Khalistan Affairs Centre

956-National Press Building, Washington DC 20045 USA

Tel: 202-637-9210 :: Fax: 202-637-9211

INTERNET SITE INFORMATION:-

Web Site: www.khalistan-affairs.org

E-mail Address:

kacwashdc@yahoo.com

Washington DC: November 19, 2003: Two unrelated statements issued three days ago, on November 15, 2003, one from the Chief Minister of Pakistani Punjab, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, in Lahore, and the other from the former Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sirdar M. S. Gill, from Chandigarh in Sikh Punjab, make it abundantly clear that the people of the two Punjabs (Indian & Pakistani) are on the same wavelength and have great affection and respect for one another and have seen through the Kautilyan (read Machiavellion) mindset of the Brahmin-caste-dominated, Hindutva-fundamentalist, BJP rulers in Delhi whose shenanigans and intrigues are meant to put hurdles in the way of any Sikh/Muslim normalization after a half century of separation. and Chanakiyan mischief.

Speaking at a Lahore dinner/reception in honour of the visiting Sikh jathas (who were in Pakistan to celebrate the 534th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak) the Chief minister of Pakistani Punjab, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, pleasently surprised the Sikh guests when he declared that the Punjab government would commemorate the 400th martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev in Lahore in June 2006 and would ask the Government of Pakistan to issue a commemorative postage stamp on that occasion. The Punjab Chief Minister, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, also stressed the need for starting a Dosti (Friendship) Bus Service from Amritsar to Lahore & back so that more and more Sikh pilgrims could visit their holy places in Pakistan. For a backgrounder please see Khalistan calling dated October 29, 2003, headlined, 'Pakistan's Senate Foreign Relation's Committee Chairman, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, calls for a direct Amritsar-Nankana Sahib-Amritsar daily railway train service for Sikh pilgrims," by clicking at: > http://www.khalistan-affairs.org/Main/K_Ca.../kc10229003.htm <

Sikh-friendly Punjab Chief minister, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi also announced during the dinner (according to a leading Lahore English language newspaper, The Daily Times - Editor Mr. Najam Sethi) that the Punjab government would prepare a package for the Sikhs with the consultation of the Sikh leaders in Lahore and Nankana Sahib. "The government would also provide land to set up hotels and shops on the eve of Baba Guru Nanak’s Urs in Nankana Sahib." The chief minister urged the Chairman of the World Sikh Muslim Federation, Sirdar Manmohan Singh, to hold an International Sikh-Muslim Convention in 2006 in Lahore and promised the cooperation of the Punjab government in that worthy endeavor. (For detailed report of the Lahore dinner function attended by the Punjab Chief minister Pervaiz Elahi and Sikh guests from all over the world please click at: > http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?p...-11-2003_pg7_17 <

Most important of all, the Punjab Chief minister, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, went on record in his speech during the Lahore dinner when he told the Sikh guests that, "the Punjab government had also decided to construct a road linking Nankana Sahib with Sheikhupura-Faisalabad road (motorway) for the Sikh pilgrims’ convenience and the Punjab government would establish an academy for the Punjabi language." Sardar Manmohan Singh, Sardar Balkar Singh, Paramjeet Singh Sarna and Otar Singh thanked the Punjab government for accommodating the Sikh pilgrims and renovating their holy places. The Sikh guests attending the dinner invited Punjab Chief minister Pervaiz Elahi to visit East Punjab to strengthen relations between the people of both Punjabs.

In a related development - and quite a coincidence - India's respected former Chief Election Commissioner, Sirdar M.S. Gill, speaking to correspondent P. P. S. Gill of the Tribune News Service on November 15, 2003, expressed his surprise that there has been no response from Punjab to the Pakistani offer to start a Lahore-Amritsar bus service, as such an arrangement would make visits to Sikh holy shrines located across the border in Pakistan easy for everyone and would take the hassle out of the SGPC seeking permission every time for jathas to visit historic gurdwaras in Pakistan. Sirdar M. S. Gill told The Tribune that, "a similar offer from Pakistan earlier to open a passage to pilgrims to pay obeisance at the gurdwara in Kartarpur opposite Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur was also not followed up at any level in Punjab." Read Sirdar M. S. Gill's detailed interview by clicking at: > http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031116/punjab1.htm <

The former Election Commissioner of India, Sirdar M.S. Gill, who earned an outstanding reputation when he headed the Indian Election commission with great distinction and imprtiality, asked in a rhetorocal question that, "if there was justification for a bus facility between Dacca and Kolkata or proposals were there for similar connections between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-held Kashmir, or for a rail-road link between Khokrapar in Rajasthan and Munabao in Sind, why not between Amritsar-Lahore and Amritsar-Nankana Sahib with all necessary regulations and controls?"

In the Tribune interview Sirdar M. S. Gill warned that, "once the proposal to start ferry service between Mumbai and Karachi matured, it would give a setback as Punjab was a border state, land-locked and miles away from the seaports. Once this sea route opened, it would also open flood gates to the economy and trade that would affect Punjab. Positive contacts between the two Punjabs were important for the state’s economy and trade just as the opening of rail, road and sea links would benefit Maharashtra, Kashmir, Rajasthan."

During the interview Dr. M. S. Gill recalled his meeting in Pakistan with Sikhs in Nankana Sahib, four years ago, where it was pointed out that they were given visas to visit any other part of India but Punjab. They wanted permission to visit at least Amritsar to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. He said, ‘’I wrote to the Prime Minister on return but, there has been no reply till date." Dr. Gill did not mention that passengers for Amritsar travelling these days on the much touted Lahore-Delhi bus service cannot disembark in the holy city but have to go to Delhi first and then make their way back to Amritsar. Some convenience!

Dr Gill also said in the interview that, "as Punjab had strategic geo-political location, it had to play a pro-active role in the peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad, as it was a major stakeholder in India-Pakistan relations as the people had suffered Partition, starting their lives from a scratch. Once peace was restored between the two countries, Punjab would emerge a major beneficiary in people-to-people relations. Punjab would also benefit in trade and tourism."

Although this column does not have intimate knowledge of Dr. Sirdar M. S. Gill political views but we believe he has spoken very well and wisely on behalf of the 24 million Sikhs, 3 million free in the diaspora and 21 million held captive in India behind the 'Berlin Wall' on the Indo/Pakistan border.

This News Letter (Khalistan Calling) appreciates the initiatives announced by the Sikh-friendly Pakistani Punjab Chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi mentioned above. Both these Punjabi gentlemen - Elahi and Gill - are right that Sikh Punjab provides a peace bridge of commerce for the oil and gas of Central Asia to the subcontinent and Punjab's agricultural produce and Indian and Bangladeshi industrial goods to the 'Stans' (Kazakistan, Kyrgiztan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkemanistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Chinese Sinkiang) all - except Pakistan - land-locked in Central Asia. Just like the Panama canal reduced the sea journey time from New York to San Francisco by more than half, Punjab's trucks could deliver Indian, Bangladeshi and Punjabi products and produce to Uzbeckistan for example in less than three days. Currently it takes six to eight weeks or more for Punjab's surplus wheat and rice to reach Uzbekistan or any other Central Asian country. Even when the much touted Iranian seaport of Char Bihar starts functioning in 2005 and if - a very big if - roads to Central Asia from there are completed it will take no less than four weeks - through bandit country - for Punjab's hoisery, cycles, agricultural products to reach Central Asian or Iranian, Iraqi and Turkish markets. Peace therefore, is in everyone's interest.

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Guest Punjabi Nationalist

CM to visit Pak

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3

Favouring strong economic and cultural ties between two Punjabs (Indian and Pakistani), Capt Amarinder Singh said he was looking forward to visit Lahore for initiating process to resume the old commercial relations.

Capt Amarinder Singh said he had already received an invitation from his Pakistani counterpart and had requested him to visit India first.

Tribune - Chandigarh, Punjab

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