Claiming that Pakistan Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa had broken the news of opening of the Kartarpur Corridor to Navjot Singh Sidhu even before Imran Khan was sworn in as their prime minister, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today, dubbed the whole affair as a "bigger conspiracy" hatched by the Pak army.
"The opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is clearly a game plan of the ISI," the Chief Minister said, adding a bigger conspiracy seems to have been hatched by Pakistan Army against India.
He admitted that Pakistan was attempting to revive militancy in Punjab and thus, everyone should be wary of all of its overtures, no matter how grand they appear to be, an official release, quoting him, said.
The Sidhu affair was being unnecessarily hyped and those raising it had clearly failed to see the ISI game plan, said Captain Amarinder, lashing out at the Akalis for branding the Punjab minister as a stooge of the Pakistan Prime Minister.
The Chief Minister also hit out at the Akalis and the BJP's central leadership for "indulging" in unwarranted controversy over his (Chief Minister's) relations with Sidhu.
This, he said, was in a bid to divert public attention from the core issue of Pakistan's continued and deliberate perpetration of terror activities in Punjab with the ultimate aim of destabilising the border state.
Mr Singh said the demand for opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor was pending since partition as several holy Sikh shrines (Sri Nankana Sahib, Sri Panja Sahib, Dera Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib) had been left in Pakistan. Even former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh had taken up the issue of opening the Kartarpur corridor with Pakistan, he added.
The Punjab Chief Minister said he himself had raised the issue with his Pakistan Punjab counterpart Parvez Elahi and with the then President, Parvez Musharraf during his previous tenure as the chief minister.
On why he opted not to go to Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, Amarinder said he declined the invite because he could not think of going there while Indian soldiers and civilians were being killed by the Pakistani Army.
On the issue of Navjot Sidhu's visit to Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony, Amarinder said he had told Sidhu that he had declined the invite by writing a letter to the Pakistan Minister for foreign affairs, and had also shared a copy of the same on the social media.
Regarding Sidhu's remarks that Rahul Gandhi was his Captain, the Chief Minister said this was hardly an issue to be raised as Sidhu had always treated him (Amarinder) as a fatherly figure.
Amarinder Singh warned Pakistan against carrying on with its nefarious designs and urged it to desist from trying to foment trouble in Punjab.
He also asked Pakistan to put an immediate end to the killing of Indian soldiers at the borders.