Punjab Congress Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan for Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony and his subsequent hug with Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa has been widely criticised in Indian mainstream and social media. Even Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has slammed Sidhu for showing affection towards General Bajwa who is responsible for killing hundreds of Indian soldiers.
But Congress machinery as a whole has been defending Sidhu’s action. First, Congress defended Sidh travelling to Pakistan as a ‘personal decision’ and now Punjab Congress Chief Sunil Jakhar has come out openly in support of Sidhu and his controversial hug. According to reports, Jakhar has stated that Sidhu has shown ‘sportsman spirit’ in accepting the invitation from Imran Khan and India has nothing to lose in Sidhu’s ‘diplomatic act’.
Sunil Jakhar even referred to Sidhu’s claim that General Bajwa had spoken to him about opening the Kartarpur border on the occasion of Prakash Parv. Jakhar reportedly stated that the BJP government should take the matter of Pakistan opening the Kartarpur border to diplomatic levels and the ball is now in the court of Ministry of External Affairs as the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak is approaching.
Jakhar also brought up the issue of PM Modi sending a congratulatory letter to Imran Khan for becoming Pakistan’s new Prime Minister. He reportedly stated that PM Modi should explain what he has written in the letter and how the letter is different from letters written by Dr Manmohan Singh which he used to term as ‘love letters’.
In the oath-taking ceremony, Sidhu was seen sitting next to the President of PoK. Many have criticised Sidhu’s show of affection towards General Bajwa. Captain Amarinder Singh, the Congress CM of Punjab had stated earlier that it was wrong for Sidhu to hug General Bajwa because many Indian soldiers have been killed by Pakistan and regardless of who pulls the trigger, it is General Bajwa who is responsible for the deaths.