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Pak removes controversial Khalistani separatists from Sikh committee

PTI | Lahore | Updated: 14-07-2019 13:29 IST | Created: 14-07-2019 13:25 IST
Pak removes controversial Khalistani separatists from Sikh committee
Dr Mohammad Faisal, Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan, at Wagah (Pakistan) Image Credit: ANI

Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee's controversial secretary-general Gopal Singh Chawla has been removed and he is not part of the delegation which is holding the second round of talks with India in Wagah, a senior official said Sunday. Officials from India and Pakistan Sunday held the second round of talks to discuss draft agreement and operationalization of the Kartarpur corridor.

The second round of talks, which were scheduled on April 2, was canceled by India after Pakistan nominated Khalistani separatists in the 10-member PSGPC to facilitate Sikh pilgrims after the opening of the corridor. India voiced concerns over the presence of Khalistani separatists in the committee and said it will wait for a response from Islamabad on the issue and will not go ahead with the meeting.

"Chawla has been removed from the secretary-general post and he is no longer a member of the PSGPC. Chawla is also not part of the Pakistani delegation which is taking part in the second round of talks in Wagah," a senior official of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) told PTI. The ETPB is a statutory board that manages religious properties and shrines of Hindus and Sikhs who had migrated to India following the partition.

The official said the PSGPC Pardhan (president) Tara Singh has also been removed and the new election will be held soon to elect a new president and the secretary-general. "Apparently, removal of Chawla is a damage control step by the Imran Khan government," an official said, adding that he had become so controversial that the Khan government was forced to revamp the whole PSGPC.

Chawla was seen with Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor in Narowal, 125-km from Lahore, in November last.



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