Former Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit in a video was seen opposing the pilgrimage corridor to the Sharada Peeth Temple in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). He was irked at a lawmaker from Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad’s Awami Muslim League (AML) for entertaining the idea of opening a pilgrimage corridor.
This is a change of stance because Basit, when he was the high commissioner to India, at an event in New Delhi that initiatives would be taken for Hindus from India to visit the Sharada temple in PoK after the construction of an access road.
However, in the video released by him recently, not only did he oppose the idea but he urged the Pakistani government to “educate” Kashmiris living under Pakistani illegal occupation and members of the rubber-stamp legislative assembly to attend workshops to have a “better grasp” of their own history.
The rubber-stamp legislative assembly passed a resolution demanding to build a corridor which would enable people from PoK to travel to the Union Territory of Jammu and the Union Territory of Kashmir and also allow people from the Union Territories to visit PoK.
The resolution was passed by the AML, which is known for its close ties to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by Imran Khan.
Abdul Basit also said that he spoke to the speaker of the rubber stamp legislative assembly of PoK and urged him to take necessary steps.
He said the so-called speaker of the PoK legislative assembly said he was not present when the resolution was passed and if he would have been present such a resolution would not have been passed.
Basit in the eight minute-long video is seen condemning the move and accusing local lawmakers for giving an indirect approval to India’s desire to build a pilgrimage corridor to the Sharada Peeth Temple in the PoK.
Basit was referring to Union home minister Amit Shah who said on March 22 that the government will move forward to open Sharda Peeth on the lines of the Kartarpur corridor.
Shah was responding to a suggestion made by Ravinder Pandita, convener of the Save Sharda Committee Kashmir (SSCK). Pandita requested that the Sharda Peeth corridor should be made operational in the same way Nankana Sahib gurudwara and the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan have been made operational.
Shah said that the government will move forward to open Sharda Peeth for devotees on the lines of Kartarpur corridor while adding that Sharda Peeth has been a historical centre of India’s cultural and religious heritage
The Sharada Peeth Temple is an ancient Hindu temple located in the Neelum Valley of Muzaffarabad in PoK. The temple is believed to be one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peeths and is dedicated to the goddess Sharada.
The proposal for a Hindu pilgrimage corridor to the Sharada Peeth Temple is similar to the Kartarpur corridor, which was opened in 2019 to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan.
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