Chandigarh, 6 Feb—Seventy-five years ago the drawing of the Redcliffe Line that partitioned Punjab ruining its centuries-old history and culture is still a festering wound of the Punjabis. Since then, Sikhs have been longing and praying daily for unrestricted ‘darshan’ of their sacred places related to Sikh Gurus left in Pakistan. East Punjab became landlocked and cut-off from old trade routes and trade with central Asia and far off and Amritsar ceased to be an important business center of North India.
After 1947, in place of Karachi, a far-off Mumbai became a trade window for Punjab that, too, was at mercy of New Delhi rulers who have, invariably, been helping the big business –Adani-Ambani –to control import and exports from Punjab. Punjab’s surplus agricultural produce- like perishable vegetables and fruits- have been getting destroyed for want of market even as they are in great demand across the border. Thus, prosperous Punjab after being denied unhindered trade just across its borders suffered economic hardships and now slipped to 16th position among the states with regard to per-capita income.
Demand for the opening of the Wahgha and Hussainiwala borders of Punjab has always been opposed by ultra-nationalists who have been using the Pakistan card to terrorize Indians, to communally polarise the society, and play ‘vote-bank’ politics. Following the footsteps of RSS and Hindutva ideologues, some self-centered Sikh politicians and parties in Punjab have been propagating Pakistan as the enemy and opposing the opening of border trade with Pakistan. Earlier, they opposed the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib passage with Pakistan ignoring the sentiments of Sikhs who had prayed for that for decades.
We appeal to Punjabis that politics of the day demands that we should vote for those politicians and parties who stand for the opening of Punjab borders with Pakistan for unobstructed trade as being done among the European countries
.Signatories to the appeal are: Prof Sham Singh, Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Rajwinder Singh Rahi, Surrinder Singh Kishanpura, Gurbachan Singh, Editor Des Punjab.
Issued by: Khushal Singh General Secretary Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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