Former Cricketer-turned-Politician Navjot Singh Sidhu crossed borders on 17th August to attend the Oath taking ceremony of his friend Imran Khan as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Navjot and Imran has known each other for over 35 years, from their cricket days.
Khan who is the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, was elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, invited a few of his friends from across the border including Navjot Singh Sidhu. The others could not make it due to personal and work related commitment; however, Sidhu arrived from Wagah border to be part of the great event. We saw Navjot Singh receiving a lot of praise and welcome from everyone present at the ceremony, including the 3 armed force Chiefs hugging him, as a gesture of welcoming.
The arrival of Sidhu was not very well praised in India, and many people including Haryana Minister Anil Vij to BJP activists, calling him “disloyal”. In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Indian Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu shared some of his experience as well as reactions towards the hatred and criticism he is receiving.
When asked about the fact that he was the only high profile guest from India being the Punjab Minister, how did it felt, Sidhu responded saying
‘It was a very humbling kind of an experience… I consider it as a great honor’
In response to if he found Imran Khan nervous during the ceremony, he said
‘Not at all, he was not nervous… He was as confident as I have always seen him… after the ceremony he came and gave me a big hug…’
On the Chief of Army staff giving Navjot a hug twice, and what he was like, Navjot shared that
‘… All the army Chiefs had to meet the guests sitting in the first row, so I met the Naval chief, the Air Marshal as well… Bajwa Sahab came up to me and said I’m a General who wanted to be a cricketer… he was very warm and said that ‘Navjot we want peace’… without me saying anything he said that ‘when you celebrate the 50th birthday of Baba Nanak… we will open up the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor… it was like a dream come true…’
On what to expect from Imran Khan as a Prime Minister, Navjot said
‘There is one thing that I know about him is, there will be no compromises… the second thing is that he has clarity of thought, he will listen to everybody but he will do what he thinks is the right perspective… I have trust and only time will tell in the next 6 months or a year… as no one can come up with a policy and implement it in 5 months, that’s too early… I think we should give the person at least a year to see where he is going… One thing I am sure of is, he will be taking the positive direction’
For those who think Sidhu should not have visited Pakistan, considering all the tension between the two states, he had a positive message
‘My thought process has always been very positive. I always wanted to swim in the blue ocean, where there is space for everybody to swim, there is no bloodshed’
Upon question about the Haryana Minister who called his visit an act of disloyalty and said that no friendship is greater than the country, Sidhu said that
‘It’s not necessary to react to everything’
To those who said that the AB Vajpayee mourning is going on and there should be action against Sidhu, he wished good for all of them.
He ended the interview saying
‘Somewhere down the line that Mohabbat Paigham has to surface, the blue ocean has to come up’
Here is the complete interview