Sikh Network and Sikh Federation UK, the British Sikh groups known for their pro-Khalistan affiliations had co-organised an event in London where Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan was awarded a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’.
As per reports, the event was hosted by Britains All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs and London Assembly member Onkar Sahota. It was organised at the Mayor of London’s headquarters. Among the speakers were Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, Labour party leader Preet Kaur Gill, and Debbie Weekes-Bernard, the Deputy Mayor for Social Integration and Mobility.
The event was reportedly organised to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
The ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ to Imran Khan was received on his behalf by Sahibzada Jahangir, Imran Khan’s spokesperson for trade and investment in UK and Europe. Jehangir stated at the event that he invites ‘Sikhs from around the world to come to Pakistan’.
I was humbled & honoured to receive the Life Achievement Award on behalf of the great man PM Imran Khan given in london by the Sikh Community. https://t.co/FS4ZIw9xiy
— Sahibzada Jahangir (@ChicoJahangir) November 21, 2019
Jahangir also stated that Pakistan is ‘proud’ of the completion of the Kartarpur Saheb corridor and added that the corridor ‘reinforces the idea of Sikhs as a bridge between cultures and countries’.
Jahangir also hailed Imran Khan for the ‘tremendous work’ on the Kartarpur Sahib corridor and completing in the shortest possible time of 8 months. He added that it was possible because of Imran Khan’s ‘love and passion for peace and humanity’.
It is notable here that there have been growing concerns about Pakistan using the Kartarpur corridor as a ground to incite Khalistani sentiments against India. Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has expressed his concerns multiple times on the issue.
It is notable here that the Sikh Federation UK has its roots in Sikh extremism and the Khalistan movement. Most of its senior members are the former members of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) which was banned in the UK under anti-terrorism laws. ISYF was established by Bhinderwale’s nephew Jasbir Singh Rode and has been implicated with another terrorist group, Babbar Khalsa in cases of kidnapping, bombings and assassinations. The Sikh Federation UK’s lobbying and negotiations had resulted in the UK lifting the ban on ISYF.
The Sikh Network is another British Sikh group founded by Dabinderjit Singh Sidhu which lists “to obtain recognition and support from the UK for the application of self-determination to the Sikhs and to remove India’s right to territorial integrity” as one of its key agendas to work on and seeks to build political support behind it.