Pakistan finds love for Sikhs. Now cheering the Khalistan dream after failed Kashmir project
Pakistan wants Khalistan. It doesn't matter how Sikhs are treated at home.
All protests are commendable as long as they take place in India. That is why the protesting farmers of India have given a new hope to those in Pakistan who condemn all such activities at home. Be it the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, which has been fighting for equal rights for about three years now. Or the recent Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of opposition parties protesting to oust the government of Imran Khan.
More than India, it’s Pakistan that takes the protesting farmers seriously, best explained by how Pakistani troops were put on high alert along the Line of Control, because a surgical strike was imminent. Perhaps UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson isn’t that naïve after all — farmers’ protest against the Narendra Modi government’s three agricultural laws is a dispute between India and Pakistan.
In the backdrop of the protest, hyper patriots of Pakistan see an opportunity to break India. Don’t ask how; they just do. After the roaring success of the ‘Kashmir Banega Pakistan’ project, it is now time for the Khalistan jingle. It’s a different matter that the idea of something like Khalistan also includes several cities of Punjab in Pakistan, with Lahore as its capital. In essence, breaking Pakistan is making Khalistan. But who cares about such boring details when you are itching to break your enemy as much as the next guy. Hum toh doobe hain sanam, tujhe bhi le dubenge (we are already drowning but we will take you with us).
One Sikh community, Pakistan sees two
And Pakistan’s decade-long struggle to make Kashmir a part of Pakistan, which only resulted in India scrapping its special status, gives hope to no one but the keyboard warriors. So after digital Baloch, digital Chinese and digital Turks, we now have digital Sikhs. These warriors will ensure Khalistan becomes a reality, so what if it’s only on Twitter. When you get mass tagged in some Khalistan referendum chronicles, stay calm for this is the Nth generation warfare. And who is a better foot soldier in this warfare than actress Veena Malik, who not only supports Khalistan but seems to be counting days to “welcome our new neighbour”. Veena can even have her own franchise of Bigg Boss in Khalistan.
We are told that since Khalistan will be a new country, we will require a visa to visit it. Such is our tragedy that despite being the purveyors of the ‘Khalistan project’ and ensuring its imagined creation, Pakistanis still won’t manage a visa-free travel. We have also been told that like Ghazwa-e-Hind, the formation of Khalistan is in the hadith and that makes it inevitable. We can call this a pure example of ‘truck ki batti ke peechhay lagna’.
It is with immense pleasure that the warriors will tell you that Sikhs are so unhappy in India that them breaking away is now imperative and just a matter of time. What the warriors won’t tell you is how Pakistan is no paragon when it comes to protecting its own religious minorities including Sikhs. The community at home still isn’t counted as a separate entity from Hindus and is clubbed together in the official census. Sikhs have faced targeted attacks on their life and businesses, while their daughters fear kidnapping and forced conversion to Islam. But the idea is not to bother about Sikhs living in Pakistan but about those living in India. That’s what real patriotism means, in case no one has told you.
Dial K for everything
This Khalistan delusion is not new and makes an appearance every time the Sikh community is in news. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, at the time of Kartarpur Corridor’s opening, had said that PM Imran Khan delivered a “googly” and India had to send two ministers to ensure its government’s presence at the ground-breaking ceremony. The statement was rebuked by then Indian minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj for hurting the sentiments of the Sikh community. Even the promotional video released by the Pakistan government to mark the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor sparked controversy over featuring three Khalistani separatists on a poster carrying the title ‘Khalistan 2020’. At best, for Pakistan, Sikhs are just poster boys.
Some want to carve out new countries, some want to reunite the old ones. They can’t live peacefully apart; they want to live together. Maharashtra cabinet minister Nawab Malik wants Bangladesh, Pakistan and India to become one happy family again. Not only that, the state’s former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tends to believe that Karachi will one day become a part of India, again. It seems like K is the real charm here, if not for Kashmir or Khalistan.