Punjab minister and former cricketer Navjot Sidhu on Friday announced that he is going to attend Pakistan's Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan's swearing-in ceremony as a "goodwill ambassador". The ceremony is scheduled to take place on Saturday in Parliament.
On Monday, Sidhu was at the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi and said that he had applied for government permission and sought political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), ahead of his visit to Pakistan. "I came here for some formalities. I have applied for government permission. I sought political clearance from MEA. Everything now depends on the Indian government's permission."
Earlier in the day, reports confirmed that Sidhu reached Pakistan via the Wagah Border to attend Khan's swearing-in ceremony scheduled to be held on Saturday
On 11 August, Sidhu was invited by Khan after the latter extended a personal invite in a telephonic conversation. According to Punjab's Information and Public Relations Department, Khan also thanked Sidhu for praising him in a press conference on 2 August.
Sidhu then informed the Union Home Ministry and the office of the Chief Minister of Punjab regarding his intention to attend the swearing-in ceremony and also revealed that he was in talks with former Indian skipper Kapil Dev, who has also been invited to the event.
While addressing a presser in Chandigarh, Sidhu underlined that the invite for the oath-taking ceremony was a personal one.
He said, "He (Imran Khan) has risen from the scratch in politics, he has exhibited great character. I see him as a ray of hope. It is a huge honour for me. It is a personal invitation from him and not a political one. I respect the foreign policy of the Government (of India) and the country, but this is a personal invitation. I believe sportspersons and artistes break barriers."
Last week, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party announced that Khan's oath-taking ceremony would take place at the President House in Islamabad on 18 August.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Aug 17, 2018 16:11:20 IST