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Published On: Sat, Aug 18th, 2018

Congress Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu Hugs Pak Army Chief Bajwa

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sidhuNEW DELHI : The seating arrangement at the swearing-in ceremony of former Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan has sparked a controversy with former Indian batsman-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu given the chair next to ‘president’ of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Sidhu was among the special guests present at Khan’s oath taking ceremony at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad.
Cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu, who had claimed that he will visit Pakistan as a ‘goodwill ambassador’, was clicked giving a warm hug to the neighbouring country’s Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa ahead of Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony.

According to media reports, Sidhu, the Congress Minister in Punjab  was received by Gen Bajwa and other top officials at the President House in Islamabad – the venue of Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony.The two exchanged pleasantries and were seen chatting happily before the start of the event.While the swearing-in ceremony was underway, Sidhu was spotted sitting next to President of Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (PoK) Masood Khan in the front row.
Addressing media this evening, BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra demanded that Congress President Rahul Gandhi should answer if he had allowed Mr Siddhu to do so.  He said it is unbecoming of an Indian politician to exchange pleasantries with the individuals of a country which exports terror to India.

Meanwhile, right wing members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a protest against former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu’s arrival in neighbouring country Pakistan.

Sidhu, who had reached Pakistan Friday morning, attended the oath-taking ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday. Sidhu kept reiterating that he came to spread the message of love and peace between the two countries, however his trip did not receive a good response from Indians.
Some of the protesters even burnt an effigy of the cricketer and chanted slogans against him. One of the protesters even remarked, “How could he attend Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony and hug Pakistan’s Army Chief being Punjab’s cabinet minister when India is mourning the death of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” reported Indian media.
While addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Navjot Singh Sidhu remarked that Pakistan’s new premier possesses the ability to change country’s future. “Imran Khan has emerged as a hope [for us all]”, he said.
Speaking about his experience, Sindhu shared that he is taking back 100 times more love than what he had brought. “The love I have gotten has opened up infinite possibilities which can actually unify us.”
He stressed that the purpose of his visit was not political rather spread the message of love. “I brought a message of love and friendship. This message of friendship is for everyone, not just cricketers.”( With Agency Inputs ).

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