Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij on Saturday slammed cricketer-turned-politician and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for attending the swearing-in ceremony of Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister and former cricketer Imran Khan in Islamabad. Terming it an “anti-national” step, Vij said that such an “act of disloyalty” towards India “will not be endorsed by any patriotic citizen” of the country.
“The Union government has announced a seven-day national mourning following the death of former prime minister Vajpayee, but Sidhu preferred to join the swearing-in ceremony of Khan in Pakistan, ignoring the sentimental and grieved occasion of his country,” Vij said.
The health minister of Haryana appealed to the Punjab chief minister to take up the matter seriously and initiate “strict action” against Sidhu.
Imran Khan, who captained the cricket team of Pakistan to World Cup glory in 1992, had invited some of his former teammates and friends for the oath-taking ceremony. Sidhu, who wore a dark blue suit and a purple turban, was among the special guests present at the occasion, which was being held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad on Saturday.
Vij further said that Sidhu beyond doubt has friendly relations with Khan but “friendship was not bigger than the country”.
He criticised Sidhu for “enjoying Khan’s celebration” in Islamabad, while most of the leaders of the ruling, as well as opposition parties, were present in Delhi to pay their tributes to late BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee.