Former cricketer-turned-commentator-turned-comedy show judge-turned-reality show contestant-turned politician — Navjot Singh Sidhu is again in the spotlight after hoardings declaring him and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan as “real heroes” for turning the Kartarpur Corridor project into reality have surfaced in Amritsar. However for Sidhu, this spotlight is not new and has stayed with him through the course of his volatile political career, whether be his blatant political u-turns or his mingling with extremists and Pakistani military establishment, nonetheless for Navjot Singh Sidhu these posters are certainly in line with his newfound pro Pakistan stand over the past few years.
Sidhu’s zeal for Pakistani administration became further evident after he shot off a third letter to the Ministry of External affairs demanding that he be should be allowed to use the Kartarpur Corridor to attend the opening ceremony planned by Pakistan on November 9 while he remained missing from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha’s special session to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on Wednesday.
Sidhu has been invited by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan himself to attend the Kartarpur Corridor opening ceremony. This desperation to attend the function in Pakistan while giving a miss to the important special session in the Punjab state assembly surely calls for serious questions on the conduct of former Punjab minister.
In the letter addressed to the Minister of External affairs, Sidhu also declared that he will be proceeding for the ceremony in Pakistan even if no permission is granted.
Last desperate attempt by Sidhu to get Govt nod to visit Pakistan for Kartarpur corridor inaugration. It's clear now that Sidhu isn't being taken by Govt in the first official Jatha to Kartarpur. Even Punjab CM Captain Amrinder Singh not keen to take Sidhu. Wait for some drama. pic.twitter.com/Lb5Ic4CbZ2
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) November 7, 2019
It is important to note that this incident is just a link in the long chain of events where Navjot Singh Sidhu has been called out for his support to pro-terror regime in Pakistan. Earlier, in the month of August, Sidhu was also called out for attending Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony, even though it was boycotted by others in India. At the ceremony, Navjot Sidhu was also seen exchanging pleasantries with Pakistani Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and even hugged him. In November 2018 during the inauguration of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, Navjot Singh Sidhu transgressed all lines of political greed and was seen essentially praising the same Pakistani leadership which is responsible for the deaths of innocent Indians and destabilizing the Kashmir region for long.
However, Navjot Sidhu did not stop at that and further went on to make controversial and insensitive comments on the Pulwama terror attack which saw 44 brave soldiers losing lives at the hands of Pakistan based terror organizations Jaish-e-Mohammad. Sidhu said, “terrorism has no religion, no nation” essentially absolving Pakistan of its role in the heinous terror attack. Referring to the Balakot airstrikes, Sidhu stated, “Were you uprooting terrorists or trees? Was it an election gimmick?”
What followed was Navjot Sidhu’s political ambitions and the newfound bent towards Pakistan taking the face of an internal rift with Punjab CM and senior Congressman Captain Amarinder Singh. In fact, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh called him out openly last August, when Sidhu was seen hugging the Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa during Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony in Islamabad. Amarinder Singh had reacted by saying, “I’m against it… The man should understand that our soldiers are getting killed.”
The Congress has also been on the back foot when clarifying on Navjot Singh Sidhu’s close ties with the terror-sponsoring regime in Pakistan, as even during times of severe conflict, Sidhu has taken a nearly pro-Pak line or refused to comment. It is also important to note that Amarinder Singh has also raised questions over the intention of ISI behind the Kartarpur corridor step.
“I feel like this [opening of corridor] is an ISI operation and I say this because the day that Imran Khan was sworn in as Pakistan PM, Navjot Singh Sidhu was called. Before the swearing-in [Pakistan Army chief] General Bajwa told Sidhu you will be happy to know that we are opening corridor, and Imran Khan becomes PM later. The [Pakistan] army had already laid the ground for this and when they do it puts my antennae up,” Singh told India Today.
The attention-hungry politician seems to seek relevance but it is becoming more and more clear that he is being used by Pakistan for giving way to a nefarious agenda that involves fanning the Khalistan flames. He has featured in posters along with Imran Khan where they are being thanked for the Kartarpur Corridor, while the Indian and Punjab government’s role is being highly downplayed in regions of Punjab reflecting a streak of defiance and pro-Pak sentiment.
Major questions arise from the fact that a political leader who has been in Punjab government is in close and exclusive touch with Imran Khan and defies popular sentiment in India.
He has also been largely obscure about his stand on issues relating to Pakistan’s belligerence. Nonetheless, these comments by Punjab CM and the conduct of Navjot Singh Sidhu certainly call for diligent countermeasures. Navjot Singh Sidhu continues to toe the Pakistani line and his love for Imran Khan and Bajwa is no secret. An Indian leader, who has been a minister in a state government being featured in posters along with Pro terror- Pakistani PM Imran Khan is certainly a worrying trend.