Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday lashed out at his cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu for hugging Pakistan Army Chief at the swearing-in ceremony of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, saying he must not have shown affection to General Qamar Javed Bajwa. “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 every day,” he told ANI.
“My own regiment lost one major and two jawans a few months ago and every day somebody is being shot. Whether the man who pulled the trigger is to blame or the man who gives the order which is the chief, and the chief is General Bajwa,” he added.
Reacting further, the chief minister said, “To say that ‘I don’t know General Bajwa’…it is written on their uniform. That’s wrong for him (Sidhu) to have shown the affections he did for the Pakistan Army Chief.”
Singh also distanced himself from Sidhu’s decision to attend the ceremony in Pakistan, stating that the visit was made in his personal capacity. “As far as attending the swearing-in ceremony is concerned, he went there in his personal capacity so it has nothing to do with us. About him being seated next to the PoK President, maybe he (Sidhu) didn’t know who he was,” he said.
As far as attending the swearing-in ceremony is concerned, he went there in his personal capacity so it has nothing to do with us. About him being seated next to the PoK President, maybe he (Sidhu) didn’t know who he was: Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh on #NavjotSinghSidhu pic.twitter.com/H0vsElQNAm
— ANI (@ANI) August 19, 2018
Sidhu came under attack from the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal for hugging Pakistan Army Chief at the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan and sitting beside President of PoK Masood Khan. Non-Congress parties, including BJP, had called Sidhu’s attending the ceremony as shameful. Sidhu is the only Indian to attend Khan’s swearing-in ceremony. He was seen sitting next to PoK chief and hugging Bajwa at the event.
On returning from Pakistan, Sidhu, however, defended himself saying the whole incident must not be seen in bad light. On being asked why he sat beside President of PoK Masood Khan during the oath-taking ceremony, the Punjab minister who returned to Indian on Sunday told ANI that he did so because he was asked to. “If you’re invited as a guest of honour somewhere, you sit wherever you are asked to. I was sitting somewhere else but they asked me to sit there,” he told ANI at Wagah border in Amritsar.
On hugging Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Sidhu said: “If someone (Bajwa) comes to me and says that we belong to the same culture and we’ll open Kartarpur border on Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th Prakash Parv, what else I could do?”
Before crossing over to India from the Wagah Border, Sidhu said he received a lot of love from the people of Pakistan. “I am overwhelmed by the love I received here,” he said and expressed his wish that there should be peace between the two countries.
To a question about revival of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan, he said: “I am in favour of resuming cricketing ties. It is a good idea if IPL and PSL winners have a clash.”
(With PTI inputs)