AMRITSAR: After refusal by Canadian government to recognize Sikhs for Justice‘s (SFJ)-led Referendum 2020 campaign, which seeks separation of Punjab from rest of India, there is likelihood that Pakistan government could also rebuff the hardliner Sikh body to continue with its anti-India agenda from its soil. India had banned SJF in 2019.
Pakistan has earlier declined SFJ’s request to hold registration for Referendum 2020 among Indian Sikhs who had gone there with Sikh jatha to celebrate Baisakhi last year.
While disassociating himself with SFJ, its Referendum 2020 campaign and its legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, president of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) Satwant Singh told TOI on Tuesday that PSGPC had not received any request to hold any function with regards to Referendum 2020 in any of the gurdwaras. “Let the request come then we will discuss in the meeting and take appropriate decisions“ he said.
However he clarified that PSGPC had no links with Pannun or the organization he represents or the Referendum 2020 campaign. “PSGPC is custodian of gurdwaras in Pakistan and I am its sewadar” said Satwant.
A senior Sikh leader from Lahore who didn’t wish to give his name said “We will not allow SFJ to hold any function or the voters registration for Sikhs of Pakistan, we (Pakistani Sikhs) will not be the part of his personal agenda, even our local Pakistani friends have started asking us whether we will betray with Pakistan for Khalistan”
Analysts here believe that given the relations between two countries which are at lowest ebb, allowing SFJ any anti-India activity from Pak soil will only hamper Pak’s interest and further malign its image at international level.
In April 2019, Pakistan government had denied SFJ to put up Khalistan banner and set up an office in Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hasanabdal for the Referendum 2020 registration among the Indian Sikhs who were on pilgrimage to Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi festival.
Angered over the humiliation, Pannun had issued release stating “Prime Minister Imran Khan and (Pakistan) Army Chief (Qamar Javed) Bajwa, who have been deceptively claiming to be the messiah of the Sikh community have succumbed and bowed down to Modi government’s dictatorial pressure to ban SFJ’s ‘Khalistan Referendum Team 2020’ registration event at Panja Sahib during the visiting Sikh pilgrims from India”.
Pannun in the past had not only called upon Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan to politically support Referendum 2020 movement but had also announced to set up its office at Lahore and begin voter registration from Kartarpur Sahib, Pakistan in November 2019 which was however postponed after getting no response from Sikhs.