Congress minister from the Punjab government Navjot Singh Sidhu had created rage in India by his visit to Pakistan. At a time, when the entire nation was mourning over the sad demise of its former prime minister and beloved statesman, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sidhu was shaming the nation by attending Khan’s oath taking ceremony. He not only attended Imran Khan’s ceremony inviting severe criticism but also embraced the Pakistani army chief and also chose to sit with the prime minister of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) clearly shaming India and acting in a way that dilutes India’s claim over that part of the valley which has been occupied by Pakistan. Sidhu had been criticized by the citizens all around India and even by the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for his unacceptable behavior. In his defence Sidhu had tried to say that leaders from Pakistan had assured him that the sacred Kartarpur corridor, the road which leads to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara would be opened for pilgrimage by Pakistan. Sidhu had also contested that Army General Bajwa had agreed to this demand which made him emotional, leading to the hug between the two.
Sidhu’s claims had been defended by the Congress which had tried to save face after the incident which drew much flak from the residents of India. Pakistan now has openly refuted any such commitments being made at the swearing in ceremony of Imran Khan. Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Islamabad said, “There is a wide gulf between India and Pakistan that we are trying to narrow down. The Kartarpur corridor can be one of the moves in this regard. However, it cannot be considered in isolation.” It should also be taken into consideration that twice this year alone the Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria was denied entry into the Gurdwara Panja Sahib and to interact with Sikh pilgrims visiting from India citing security reasons by the Pakistani authorities. India had then summoned Pakistani officials and had termed it as a violation of bilateral protocol on pilgrims.
Navjot Singh Sidhu had been proactively defended by Punjab Congress leader Sunil Jakhar’s statement where he had asserted that Sidhu had indeed gotten the remarks from General Bajwa on the issue. Congress central leadership had in fact defended it as an act done with ‘sportsman spirit’ and had even written a congratulatory letter to Imran Khan while criticizing PM Modi in their speeches. Shiromani Akali Dal has come out openly to blast Sidhu and the Congress for their insensitive acts which was followed by defence of their leader from Punjab. Sidhu should be ashamed of his conduct and should apologize publicly. It is absolutely disgraceful how he went to Pakistan and embraced those who conspire and make nefarious designs against India. It is even more unfortunate how all this happened even as the entire nation was mourning the sad demise of its former prime minister and statesman, Atal ji. The timing of the visit as well as the acts committed by Sidhu during his Pakistan trip are worthy of condemnation, the defence of it more so. Sidhu should be made to apologise in public for his acts and the Congress leadership should make sure that none of their leaders dare to take their political interests over and above the national interest.