Lt Gen (Retd) Raza Muhammad Khan (Defense Analyst):
The Khalistan referendum is not limited to one or two countries but the Sikh diaspora across the globe is on the same page. The Sikhs want freedom from Indian occupation. Apart from the Sikhs, other minorities in India are also being deprived of their religious and fundamental rights particularly since the Modi government came into power. The minorities in India including Sikhs, Muslims and even Dallats are being targeted by the Modi Govt. The first Khalistan referendum was held in the United Kingdom, then Canada and now in Australia. These referenda are loud and clear message that the Sikh community will continue its protests until and unless their rights are not being provided to them. The world community is well aware of the separatists’ movements in India and there is a dire need to impose diplomatic pressure on the Indian government in this regard.
Abdullah Gul (Defense Analyst):
The Sikh community has always been deprived of their rights by the Indian authorities. Moreover, during the Golden Temple operation, the holy shrines of the Sikhs were burnt by the Indian Army. The Indian army not only killed the leadership of the Sikhs but also burnt the houses of the innocent Sikh community. Recently, a few months earlier, the Sikh farmers staged widespread demonstrations and recorded historic protest against the policies of Narendra Modi across the globe. Sikhs, along with, Kashmiris have been chanting slogans against the illegal occupation of the Indian government in the illegally occupied Kashmir valley. The incumbent Indian government is involved in committing massive humanitarian crimes not only within India but also in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The Sikh community have been striving and demanding the liberation of Indian Punjab from Indian occupation and the establishment of a sovereign Sikh state. The huge turnout for the Sikh Referendum depicts that the issue of the Sikh independence movement is becoming a mainstream movement.
Zulfiqar Badar (Spokesman, Foreign Minister):
This is the first visit of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to Moscow and is vital keeping in view the current economic situation of the country. Before the visit of Foreign Minister, diplomatic engagements were his big achievement as he had taken all the stakeholders into confidence regarding the trade with Russia. Such steps will take the Pakistan-Russia relations to the next level. The Foreign Minister during the visit will also interact with intellectuals from different fields of life. Once the petroleum deal between Russia and Pakistan is finalized, it will have long-lasting impacts on the economy of our country. The Foreign Minister also advocated the Kashmir issue on all international fora. Russia is also a main stakeholder in the region and can play an important role in ensuring peace and stability. The Foreign Minister will hold official talks with his Russian counterpart and would deliberate upon the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and exchange views on the regional and international issues.
Waheed Ahmed (Former Ambassador):
Economy comes first for any government. The visit of the Foreign Minister to Russia is part of economic diplomacy of the incumbent government. The visit is important in the context that we are expecting a major breakthrough at a time when the country is facing a severe economic crunch. Pakistan and Russia reached an agreement on the supply of Russian crude oil and other petroleum products. Pakistan is keen to extend its bilateral relations with all the countries including Russia, the United States and others. The United States also made it clear that it has no objection on Pakistan regarding import of Russian oil. If the agreement between Pakistan and Russia gets matured, it will bring fruitful outcomes resulting in overcoming inflation in the country.