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As Sidhu Defends Hugging Pak Army Chief, Punjab CM is Not Pleased With His Explanation

Navjot Singh Sidhu was on Saturday targeted for by the BJP for visiting Pakistan and hugging Pakistan Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in of Imran Khan.

Updated:August 20, 2018, 10:19 AM IST
New Delhi: Congress leader and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu has returned to India after attending the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan Prime Minister in Islamabad on Saturday and defended his going there and hugging the Pakistan Army chief. However, his defence has not gone down well with the Punjab chief minister.

Sidhu was on Saturday targeted for by the BJP for visiting Pakistan and hugging Pakistan Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in of Imran Khan.

On arrival at the Attari-Wagah border, Sidhu told ANI, “If you are invited as the guest of honour somewhere, you sit wherever you are asked to. I was sitting somewhere else when they asked me to sit beside PoK President Masood Khan.”

CM Amarinder Singh was quick to pull up Sidhu, saying, "Everyday our jawans are getting martyred. To hug their Chief General Bajwa, I am against this. The fact is that the man should understand that our soldiers are being killed everyday."

Singh added, "If someone says 'I don't know General Bajwa', well it is written on their uniform. That's wrong for him to have shown the affections he did towards the Pakistan Army Chief."

Sidhu was earlier attacked by many back home for sitting next to a PoK leader, who India doesn’t recognize, going by the official position India has taken on Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

"Sidhu's visit to Pakistan is shameful," said Punjab BJP chief Shwait Malik on Saturday.

Sidhu, however, defended himself saying he was left with no choice but to sit where he was asked to.

On hugging Bajwa, he said, “If someone comes to me and says that we belong to the same culture and we will open Kartarpur border on Guru Nanak Dev's 550th Prakash Parv, what else I could do?”

BJP leader Malik has, however, 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 has also said that 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.

Haryana Health minister Anil Vij termed Sidhu's participation in the ceremony as an "act of disloyalty" towards India which "will not be endorsed by any patriotic citizen" of the country.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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