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Shiv Sena says no to Pakistani artistes till peace on border

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Mumbai, Oct 8 : The youth wing of the Shiv Sena on Thursday said it won’t be proper to host shows by Pakistani artistes in India as long as tensions continued on the India-Pakistan borders.

“We are admirers of Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali and listen to his music… But we cannot permit his concert here in view of the killings perpetrated by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists on our borders,” Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray told the media.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural of Jain International Trade Organisations Games.

Justifying the Shiv Sena’s opposition to Ghulam Ali concerts scheduled later this week in Maharashtra, Thackeray claimed the move was in support of Indian armed forces that were “grappling terror on the borders”.

“Instead of providing security to Ghulam Ali, it is more important to enhance security for our countrymen and on our borders,” he said, referring to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ assurance on providing full security to the Pakistani maestro in the state.

Thackeray’s reactions came a day after the Shiv Sena’s film wing, Chitrapat Sena, issued threats against the Ghulam Ali concert in Mumbai on Friday and in Pune on Saturday.

The events were planned as part of a tribute to the Indian ghazal singer Jagjit Singh on his fourth death anniversary.

Even as Fadnavis promised adequate security to Ghulam Ali, the event organisers met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and decided to cancel Ghulam Ali’s participation in the commemorative programmes.

“The programmes will be held as per the schedule but Ghulam Ali will not participate. This decision was taken at a meeting between event organisers and Uddhav Thackeray,” Chitrapat Sena general secretary Akshay Bardapurkar told IANS after the meeting late Wednesday.

“We respect the art and artistes of Pakistan. However, we are strongly against any form of cultural association with that country since it regularly kills our soldiers and civilians in attacks from across the borders,” said Chitrapat Sena president and Marathi actor Aadesh Bandekar.

He had warned of protests not only in Mumbai and Pune but wherever Ghulam Ali, 75, performed in the country.

In the past, the Shiv Sena had protested against Pakistani singer Atif Aslam’s concert and against Pakistan cricket team playing in India.

On Tuesday, the Shiv Sena, through its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, urged the central government to attack Pakistan in retaliation to the cross-border attacks on Indian solders and civilians.

(IANS)

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Pakistan, India to Allow Sikh Pilgrims Visa-Free Access to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur

Pakistan and India agreed late last year to open the Kartarpur corridor, which will lead from the Indian border straight to the temple, with sides fenced off

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sikh pilgrimages, holiest temple in pakistan, gurudwara darbar sahib
FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2018 file photo, Indian Sikh pilgrims visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the shrine of their spiritual leader Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan. VOA

Pakistan and India have agreed to “expeditiously” work out issues related to a new border crossing that would allow Sikh pilgrims visa-free access to one of their holiest temples in Pakistan.

High-level delegations from the two nuclear-armed rival countries met Sunday on the Pakistani side of the Wagah border checkpoint to discuss what is named the “Kartarpur Corridor.”   The number and safety of pilgrims as well as infrastructure were among the issues on the agenda.

The temple, known as Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, is one of the holiest sites in Sikhism and it is believed to have been built on the final resting place of Guru Nanak, the founder of the religion, who died in the 16th Century.

The chief of the Pakistani delegation told a post-meeting news conference that both sides have resolved most of the issues and another meeting would be required before a final agreement is reached.

gurudwara darbar sahib, sikh pilgrimages
Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal, center, briefs the media before the meeting with Indian officials at Wagah border, near Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, July 14, 2019.

“We had in-depth and productive discussions on the proposed draft agreement and agreed to expeditiously finalize the modalities for operationalizing the Kartarpur Corridor in time for the 550 the anniversary celebrations,” Mohammad Faisal said.

India and Pakistan are aiming to make the corridor operational by November, ahead of the commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

India’s Sikh minority community has long sought easier access to the temple in Kartarpur. Currently, pilgrims must must first secure visas, travel to the eastern city of Lahore or other major Pakistani destinations before driving to Kartarpur. Political tensions between India and Pakistan often make it difficult for citizens of both the countries to secure timely visas.

sikh pilgrimages, gurudwara darbar sahib
Indian officials from Ministry for External Affairs arrive after crossing the border for a meeting with Pakistani officials at Wagah border, near Lahore, Pakistan, July 14, 2019. VOA

Pakistan and India agreed late last year to open the Kartarpur corridor, which will lead from the Indian border straight to the temple, with sides fenced off.

The progress toward opening the new border crossing later this year marks a rare instance of cooperation between the two countries, which have fought three wars against each other and came close to a fourth one in February this year.

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Most of the conflicts stemmed from the divided Kashmir region, claimed by both sides in its entirety, and it continues to be the primary source of regional tensions. (VOA)