While the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is being widely lauded, home and abroad, for being a genuine and warm-hearted gesture towards the Sikh community, one that might even serve as the olive branch that gets India and Pakistan back to the negotiating table, some politicians are still looking for ways to discredit the government at every turn. Chief among them is the head of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Outside parliament and finding himself increasingly on the margins of national politics, the cleric has resorted to using increasingly outlandish claims to keep himself relevant.

The latest example of this is the claim by Mr Rehman that the Kartarpur Corridor was opened to appease his Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “foreign masters and especially a religious minority community”. The “foreign masters” accusation is a leftover from the American war in Afghanistan, where the claim could be lightly thrown around and one could be assured that the people would buy it. The fact that Mr Rehman is still wheeling out this obsolete talking point speaks more about JUI-F’s detachment from the modern political landscape more than anything else. Furthermore, when it comes to Kartarpur, who exactly is this foreign master that wants Sikh pilgrims from across the border to be facilitated? The United States of America? China? We will be left to ponder that mystery forever.

The second part of his claim is more insidious than the first. Mr Rehman is suggesting that the opening of the corridor was a conspiracy of a religious minority, what minority this is and what the conspiracy aims to achieve is again not explained. His claims simply feed the religious paranoia that fuels crimes against minorities, and moreover suggests that doing anything for the benefit of a religious minority is problematic.

Mr Rehamn is an experienced politician with many sensible things to say – his lament that the parliament was not taken into confidence is one of them. Therefore it is disappointing seeing him peddling cheap sensationalist conspiracy theories instead.