Amidst the controversy over cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu's visit to Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday defended the Punjab minister in a tweet calling him an ambassador of peace. The prime minister also said, "To move forward Pakistan and India must dialogue and resolve their conflicts incl Kashmir" and that targeting Sidhu does a disservice to peace.
I want to thank Sidhu for coming to Pakistan for my oath taking. He was an ambassador of peace & was given amazing love & affection by ppl of Pakistan. Those in India who targeted him are doing a gt disservice to peace in the subcontinent - without peace our ppl cannot progress
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 21, 2018
To move forward Pakistan and India must dialogue and resolve their conflicts incl Kashmir: The best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue and start trading https://t.co/V2UkXp0WwS — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 21, 2018
The tweet comes hours after Sidhu addressed a press conference to clear the air over the issue of him embracing Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. The Punjab minister said he went to Pakistan with government approval and said he did not go there for any political gain.
At the press conference, Sidhu also raised the issue of peace talks saying that once the talks begin, conflicts can be resolved. He clarified that Bajwa and he met barely for a minute before the oath-taking ceremony had begun. The Punjab minister said that he cannot show his back if someone offers their hand of friendship.
He even said that this is a big country but people are being narrow-minded, if ministers are allowed to visit such countries without invitation, he atleast went with the invitation. Meanwhile, the BJP continued to criticise Sidhu as party spokesperson Sambit Patra came down heavily on the Congress leader saying that everyone wants peace and prosperity but at whose behest does the Punjab minister address a press conference on the issue against the statement of his chief minister.
"Rahul cannot run a parallel government in the country," Patra said saying before giving permission to Sidhu, diplomacy should not have been outsourced. "The sense of equivalence Sidhu drew between the prime minister and Vajpayee is very surprising. How can a state minister think he is almost equal to a prime minister and one of the most prominent leaders of the country?"
Saying that Congress and Rahul are busy fuelling Pakistan's conspiracies, Patra said every Indian wants to know how can they have a pro-Pakistan stand when there are so many who have lost their family members because of that country.
Updated Date: Aug 21, 2018 15:29:40 IST