2nd Edition: The Pakistan Show, 02-06 June


His much-hyped tour of North America made news for all the wrong reasons. Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh had to cancel his public programmes at Vancouver and Toronto after the Canadian government read him the rule book on “no campaigning allowed on its soil” following petition by US-based activist group, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), which later stalled his visit by filing an alleged torture case during his stint as CM. Later, SFJ ensured all his rallies in the seven US cities faced protests by slogan-shouting radicals. Back home, there were murmurs within senior Congress leaders at the timing of the tour and the “negative” publicity on social media. But in an interview to HT, Amarinder shrugs off the naysayers and dubs his visit as one that has turned the tide of Punjabi diaspora towards the Congress.

You had to cancel the Canada tour and faced protests in the US. Why is your North America visit being seen as a flop show?

I toured seven US cities, addressed seven rallies and held 28 smaller meetings with 200-300 people over lunch, dinner, tea or coffee. Each of my public meetings had over 1,000 people. I spoke to a large number of NRIs in Toronto and Vancouver on Skype. Lakhs of Punjabis spread across seven countries, including the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the UAE, saw my interview on the news channel, Jus Punjabi. Are 80-odd people shouting anti-national slogans more important than thousands who met me and lakhs who heard me on the news channel? These protesters do not wear western but traditional clothes to distinguish themselves from others, live in gurdwaras and are paid by SFJ to fan anti-India sentiments. The common belief among the Punjabi diaspora is that Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the SFJ’s legal adviser, is funded by Pakistan spy agency, ISI. So it is his dal-roti to protest or his funding would stop.

Click here for more…