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.

Opinion

Crisis looming
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Crisis looming

It will be a terrible mistake for the PM, his acolytes to underestimate the strength of the wave that is about to hit them.
An eye-opener
21 Oct 2021

An eye-opener

A daring report by Indian savants could have been written here.
Past, present, forever
Updated 20 Oct 2021

Past, present, forever

Despite their close relationship, this is hardly the first time the PTI and the military have not been BFFs.

Editorial

Not just cricket
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Not just cricket

Hype surrounding the match — sold out as soon as tickets sales opened — has overshadowed the other games, as well as other teams.
Local governance
21 Oct 2021

Local governance

The court ruling restoring local institutions in Punjab should go a long way in ensuring the continuation of grassroots democracy.
21 Oct 2021

Breast cancer awareness

LIKE so many other issues relating to women’s health in Pakistan, breast cancer is not a subject of serious...
Opposition’s chance?
Updated 19 Oct 2021

Opposition’s chance?

What the opposition can do is take advantage of the cleavage between PTI and the establishment, perhaps widen it and leverage it.
Evading tax laws
Updated 20 Oct 2021

Evading tax laws

Challenge of tax compliance can't be dealt with without directly taxing incomes irrespective of source and punishing tax evaders.
19 Oct 2021

KCR delays

AS political and bureaucratic stakeholders drag their feet over reviving the Karachi Circular Railway, residents of...