Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been facing a backlash from BJP leaders for hugging Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and sitting next to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) President Masood Khan during Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony, returned to India on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters upon his arrival at Attari-Wagah border, Sidhu defended himself saying that “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.”
When asked to explain his hug to Pak Army Chief, Sidhu clarified that he could not do anything else after Bajwa said that Pakistan will open Kartarpur border on Guru Nanak Dev’s 550 Prakash Parv.
“If someone (Pak Army Chief General Bajwa) comes to me&says that we belong to the same culture & we'll open Kartarpur border on Guru Nanak Dev's 550th Prakash Parv, what else I could do?” the Congress leader said.
Sidhu had gone to Pakistan to attend his “close friend” Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony as Pakistan Prime Minister held on Saturday in Islamabad. He was the only Indian among the three cricketer friends of Imran Khan.
However, Sidhu’s decision to attend the ceremony didn’t go down well with his previous party, the BJP which termed the move as “shameful” and accused the minister of putting India’s dignity at risk.
“Sidhu's visit to Pakistan is shameful. 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?" said Punjab BJP chief Shwait Malik.