Imran Khan Comes to Sidhu's Rescue, Says 'Those Targeting Him Are Doing a Disservice to Peace'
Sidhu had also held a press conference earlier in the day and termed the hug 'an emotional moment', which arose after Bajwa told him that efforts were being made to open the corridor to Kartarpur Sahib.
New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday came out in support of Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been under fire for hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during Khan's oath-taking ceremony.
Thanking the cricketer-turned-politician for attending his oath ceremony, Khan said, "Those in India who targeted him are doing a great disservice to peace in the subcontinent. Without peace our people cannot progress," he said.
To move forward Pakistan and India must dialogue and resolve their conflicts incl Kashmir: The best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue and start trading https://t.co/V2UkXp0WwS— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 21, 2018
Sidhu had also held a press conference earlier in the day and termed the hug 'an emotional moment', which arose after Bajwa told him that efforts were being made to open the corridor to Kartarpur Sahib. Following his statement, the BJP slammed him and said that it is unbelievable how someone can hold a press conference in support of Pakistan.
"Pakistan Army chief said they were making efforts to open corridor to Kartarpur Sahib, what followed was emotional moment," Sidhu said, adding that his visit to Pakistan was not political but "just a warm invitation from a friend".
Slamming the cricketer-turned-politician over his clarification, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that Sidhu was briefing media at behest of Rahul Gandhi. "We want Rahul Gandhi to answer. Instead of explaining why he hugged Bajwa, Sidhu is giving a long lecture. It is unbelievable how someone can hold a press conference in support of Pakistan."
The opposition parties had attacked the Punjab minister after he attended Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's oath-taking ceremony. They asked him if he remembered the sacrifices made by the Indian soldiers at the border at that time.
"Sidhu's visit to Pakistan is shameful," said Punjab BJP chief Shwait Malik.
"On one side, the Pakistan army was involved in attacking our soldiers at the border and on the other side Sidhu was hugging the Army chief. Does it mean he was thanking him for killing our jawans?" he asked.
Malik dubbed Sidhu as an "opportunist" and accused him of putting the nation's dignity at risk. The BJP leader demanded an apology from him for the "unacceptable act."
The Shiromani Akali Dal said Sidhu broke the "decorum" by visiting Pakistan.
"The whole nation is observing seven-day mourning in the wake of the death of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. At this point of time, it becomes necessary that no minister should attend ceremonial functions. By visiting Pakistan, Sidhu has broken the decorum," said SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema.
He said Sidhu's hugging of Bajwa, who was sitting next to president of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) Masood Khan, has sent a "wrong message" to Indian armed forces.
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