Amarinder slams Sidhu for hug, but refuses to sack him

CHANDIGARH/AMRITSAR: Strongly criticising his senior minister, Navjot Singh Sidhu, for hugging Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday described the hug as “not a nice gesture” and “completely avoidable”.

It was wrong of the Punjab minister to have shown affection towards Bajwa, Amarinder said. “Sidhu should have avoided indulging in such a gesture when Indian soldiers are getting killed every day on the border. After all, it is the army chief who gives the orders to kill, with the soldiers merely following the same,” the CM said on the sidelines of a photography exhibition here. Sidhu should not have shown such niceties towards him, Amarinder added.

Sidhu, on returning to India, justified the hug. “He came up to me. First thing, he is a Jat, like the Cheemas, Sandhus, Sidhus. All the three chiefs of the Pakistan defence for- ces came to meet people sitting in the front row. Bajwa walked up to me and said he is a general who wanted to be a cricketer. He was very warm and said he wanted peace,” Sidhu said after crossing the border at Attari.

He added that Bajwa told him the Pakistan government would open the Dera Baba Nanak (Kartarpur) corridor on Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. “When someone takes the name of Baba Nanak, then he has offered you everything,” he said. “I pray for the people who criticised me, but I felt too much of love and affection from the Pakistan side,” said Sidhu, who faced a group of protesters with black flags after crossing back into India.

Amarinder, however, dismissed the demand for Sidhu’s resignation as “not important”, adding that he had gone for Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony in his personal capacity. As for Sidhu sitting next to the PoK president, Amarinder said the minister possibly did not know who he was.

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