Sidhu draws criticism in India for visiting Pakistan and embracing Gen Bajwa

Published August 18, 2018
Invitation from Pakistan was a "message of love, friendship and peace for his countrymen", says Navjot Singh Sidhu. —screengrab
Invitation from Pakistan was a "message of love, friendship and peace for his countrymen", says Navjot Singh Sidhu. —screengrab

India's cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday expressed the optimism that Prime Minister Imran Khan would steer his country out of crises and change its destiny.

The legendary cricketer accompanied by Vikram Singh Meta, Imran Khan's close friend from India, and Ramiz Raja, member of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup winning team, addressed a press conference in Islamabad.

Navjot Singh Sidhu said the invitation extended to him to attend Imran Khan's oath-taking ceremony was a "message of love, friendship and peace for his countrymen".

"There was a deep message in Imran Khan's statement of taking two steps forward in response to one by India," he said, adding that it was now an obligation for him to take that message to the government across the border to resolve all the disputes with Pakistan through dialogue.

However, this gesture by Sidhu didn't go well with the nationalist parties in India, as they targeted him for attending the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan, with the BJP describing his visit to Islamabad as "shameful", Times of India reported.

Sidhu's hug with the Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during the ceremony also came under fire with the opposition parties asking him "whether he remembered the sacrifices made by the Indian soldiers at the border".

Talking to media persons, Sidhu said that General Bajwa had said Pakistan would open the border at Kartarpura for Sikh pilgrims visiting Nankana Sahib to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

"Opening of the Kartarpura passage is an earnest desire of the Sikh community," he maintained.

The former Indian cricketer said he received lots of love and respect in Pakistan. He had also brought a message of love and friendship from India but the people here reciprocated with 'compound interest', he added.

Editorial

27 Nov 2021

Supporting ECP

ALTHOUGH the government bulldozed legislation on electronic voting machines through parliament, the reality is that...
27 Nov 2021

Forgiving the Taliban

IF there is one takeaway from Thursday’s gathering of more than 1,000 Shia Hazaras in Kabul, it is the call given...
Living in fear
Updated 27 Nov 2021

Living in fear

THE registration of a blasphemy case against four members of a family from a village on the outskirts of Lahore has...
26 Nov 2021

State Bank’s projections

THE macroeconomic projections listed by the State Bank of Pakistan in its annual report on the nation’s economy...
Ad distribution
Updated 26 Nov 2021

Ad distribution

If present govt can muster will to achieve this task it would set a solid precedent that no future govt would find easy to undo.
26 Nov 2021

Messy passengers

NEWS that passengers on a PIA flight from Manchester to Islamabad left so much litter on the plane that it led to a...