Tuesday, April 17, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

‘Khalistan’ not through violence: Nasir
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Lahore, April 16
Supporting the demand of radical Sikhs for a separate sovereign nation, Lt-Gen Javed Nasir, chairman, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) and former ISI chief, said today that “Khalistan” could be achieved through peaceful means.

Talking to select journalists at a reception hosted at Hotel Pearl Continental on behalf of Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, a former President of the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee here, Mr Javed Nasir said anybody who raised the banner of militancy in today’s world stood alienated. He said the Sikhs needed to get their basic demands like “separate identity of Sikhs” incorporated in the Indian Constitution before launching a movement for a separate Sikh state.

He said there was once a mass movement for “Khalistan” but things had changed with the passage of time. The USA, had supported Afghan militants at the time of their war against Russia, but now Kabul was being dubbed as a “terrorist state” by the same country.

Asked about the banners put up at various places of Sikh pilgrimage in Pakistan by the Babbar Khalsa International, the International Sikh Youth Federation and the Dal Khalsa International demanding separate Sikh state, he said: “These do not reflect reality”.

In yet another significant statement, Mr Javed Nasir said the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee would get nomination on the PSGPC on a reciprocal basis. He said there were more than 30,000 Sikhs in Pakistan but they were not given representation in the SGPC. On the other hand, Sikh panels in Hazoor Sahib, Patna Sahib and Kashmir, were given due representation in the SGPC. Only Sikhs in Pakistan were being ignored.


The move by the PSGPC to give nomination to the SGPC on a reciprocal basis is ample indication that the PSGPC will not be disbanded as demanded by the SGPC during the tenure of Bibi Jagir Kaur.

An hour long interview with Mr Javed Nasir showed that the PSGPC has prepared both short-term and long-term strategies to woo Sikhs all over the world. The PSGPC Chairman, a one-time superior of Gen Parvez Musharraf, Chief Executive, Pakistan, said it would be his endeavour to provide maximum facilities to the Sikh pilgrims. He said he had told Mr Sham Singh, Co-Chairman, PSGPC, to take full responsibility for the affairs of Sikh shrines.

Lt-Gen Javed Nasir advocated an ‘open border’ between India and Pakistan for development of both countries. He said both developing countries must reduce defence spending for the sake of mankind. He said the conventional Army of India was much superior to Pakistan’s army, but Pakistan was much ahead of India in the field of nuclear science. “A mad man from any of the countries can press the button and that will be disastrous for the sub-continent.”

“Let us start a new chapter in friendship and mutual trust which is the only answer to problems of both countries”, he emphasised, adding it was a matter of concern that both countries did not realise the “threat perception a common man faced in the sub-continent”. “There is a need for a no-war pact to end hostilities”, he explained.

The PSGPC chief, who is also chairman of the Evacuee Property Trust Board, said he had moved a proposal for “Nankana Sahib University” at Nankana Sahib, the birth place of the first Sikh Guru, where Punjabi would be one of the major disciplines.

He said the proposal mooted by him was being opposed by bureaucrats, especially Punjabis. Senior bureaucrats opposing the proposal were those who had witnessed Partition.

“They (the bureaucrats) have not forgotten the wounds they had suffered then.” General Javed Nasir said he had suggested to the Government of Pakistan to forget the bloodshed that took place at the time of Partition due to ‘distrust’ between the Sikhs and Muslims. The need today was promote composite Punjabi culture, he contended.

In a lighter vein, the General, who has held important assignments in the Army, said he was surprised at top Indian Army officers taking bribe in thousands, which was the “rate of our peons”.

The PSGPC chief pinned much hope in the leadership of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. He said after Jawaharlal Nehru, he (Mr Vajpayee) was the chrismatic personality who could bring both India and Pakistan nearer. He said Mr Vajpayee must work for mutual trust between India and Pakistan.

However, he described the ceasefire announced by India as a “hoax”. He said India wanted to buy time to move its troops as the ceasefire was not being implemented in the Kashmir valley where militants and army men were getting killed everyday.

He said Mr L. K. Advani wanted to play the ‘communal card’ for vested interests.

On the Kargil conflict, he claimed the media had been “exploited” for painting a false picture of events. He claimed the Indian troops had faced reverses at every front during the Kargil conflict.

He alleged the defence spending of India was more than the total budget of Pakistan. Though the economic condition of Pakistan was miserable, yet it had to spend a big chunk of its budget on defence out of sheer “compulsion”.

General Javed Nasir said the PSGPC had urged the SGPC to send ‘babas’ of ‘kar sewa wale’, especially Baba Harbans Singh, to Pakistan for the ‘kar seva’ of gurdwaras in Pakistan as per the Sikh ‘maryada’. He said it was strange that there was no reply from the SGPC in this regard so far.


Pak to lift curbs on Sikh pilgrims

Islamabad, April 16
In a major policy change, Pakistan has decided to lift restrictions on the number of Sikhs visiting gurdwaras in Pakistan.

“The curbs on numbers worked out under the Liaquat-Nehru Accord will go,” Chairman of Evacuee Trust Javed Nasir, whose organisation was authorised to permit 7,500 Sikhs annually to visit gurdwaras located in Pakistan, told a reception of visiting Indian Sikhs in Lahore yesterday.

He, however, did not indicate from when the decision would be effective.

Local daily, ‘The Dawn’ quoted Nasir as saying the needful will be done soon, allowing the Sikh community to visit their holy places as and when they desired round the year.

He said efforts were being made by the government to improve the condition of gurdwaras in Pakistan and the provision of facilities during their pilgrimage here.

The Pakistan Government had also decided to provide Sikh pilgrims with concessions in air and rail fares and to arrange for them airconditioned buses, he said.

A large number of Sikhs from India and all over the world visit the birthplace of Guru Nanak in Hasan Abdal to celebrate Baisakhi. The Sikh pilgrims also visit a number of gurdwaras located in and around Lahore. PTI 

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |