Navjot Singh Sidhu says Imran Khan sent message of peace, asserts India-Pakistan ties will improve after his visit

Unlike before, when an Indian prime minister's visit to Pakistan was responded with terrorist strikes, Sidhu said his trip resulted in a message of peace.

Press Trust of India September 02, 2018 23:38:14 IST
Navjot Singh Sidhu says Imran Khan sent message of peace, asserts India-Pakistan ties will improve after his visit

Jaipur: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said on Sunday his belief that India-Pakistan ties were set to improve has strengthened after his return from Islamabad, as his "friend" Imran Khan has sent a message that he wants peace.

Unlike before, when an Indian prime minister's visit to Pakistan was responded with terrorist strikes, Sidhu said his trip resulted in a message of peace.

After his return from Pakistan last month, Sidhu said that there was a controversy in India, but the new Pakistan prime minister said "they want peace".

Sidhu visited Pakistan to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Khan, a cricketer turned politician, on 18 August.

Navjot Singh Sidhu says Imran Khan sent message of peace asserts IndiaPakistan ties will improve after his visit

File image of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu. PTI

During the visit, Sidhu had hugged Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, triggering a torrent of criticism from the BJP and also from within his Congress party, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

On Sunday, Sidhu said, "I will tell you why my hope about the improvement in relations of both the countries got strengthened...The Kargil war happened after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee returned from Pakistan. The Pathankot attack happened after prime minister Narendra Modi returned from Pakistan, but when Sidhu returned from Pakistan and some 'nok-jhonk' (bickering) took place, the message from my friend came — 'we want peace...You take one step and we will take two'," Sidhu said, referring to Khan.

Responding to a question at an event organised by Youth Congress in Ajmer city of Rajasthan titled 'Soch Se Soch Ki Ladai', Sidhu said sportsmen and artists break barrier and bring people closer.

The Punjab tourism minister said dialogue is the only way to improve ties with Pakistan.

"Hope is the biggest toph (cannon), which conquers the impossible. My hope has strengthened after my personal friend became the prime minister of Pakistan after a struggle of years... I can say with full confidence that relations between both the nations will be enhanced," he said.

Referring to Modi's impromptu visit to Lahore in December 2015 to meet his then Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, Sidhu said Modi visited there without any invitation, and that was because he understands "talks are the only way (forward)".

"Nothing except negativity was gained by blood shedding. Thousands of people lost their lives. So I would say positive — anything is better than nothing.

"Sportsmen or cricketers be it Wasim Akram, Sachin Tendulkar or Virat Kohli or artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan... They associate with people and I too went to Pakistan with this hope only," he said.

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