Sidhu's photo with pro-Khalistan activist sparks new controversy
Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been facing criticism for his visit to Pakistan for the ground-breaking foundation stone laying ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, has landed himself in yet another controversy. On Thursday, Sidhu faced harsh criticism in India after his photo with pro-Khalistan activist Gopal Singh Chawla surfaced online. Here are the details.
BJP launches scathing attack on Sidhu
The photo, taken during Sidhu's visit to Pakistan, was uploaded by Chawla on his Facebook page. Subsequently, the BJP launched an attack on Sidhu, with Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi criticizing the Punjab minister for his "malicious tactics on Pakistani soil". For those unaware, Chawla heads the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, and is also believed to have close ties with terrorist Hafiz Saeed.
Sidhu has also been criticized for praising Imran Khan
Sidhu was also attacked by Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who also attended the Kartarpur ceremony in Pakistan. Badal criticized Sidhu for his ebullient praise of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan during the ceremony, and also lashed out at the Punjab minister over Khan's comment that he could contest elections in Pakistan's Punjab province, and win.
What Badal had to say about the election comment
"He (Imran Khan) offered to have him (Sidhu) fight elections from Pakistan. Sidhu seems to have more love and respect in Pakistan than what I noticed over here. He has some good relationships over there," Badal told news agency ANI.
Sidhu's controversial streak began in August this year
Sidhu's controversial streak began in August when the cricketer-turned-politician went to attend the oath taking ceremony of Imran Khan. At the ceremony, a beaming Sidhu was seen hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Photos and videos of the hug quickly went viral, and Sidhu faced criticism for hugging the 'enemy'. He was also slapped with sedition charges for the hug.
What Sidhu had said to justify his actions
However, after the oath-taking ceremony Sidhu had justified his actions, saying that General Bajwa, a Jat like himself, "was very warm" and "wanted peace". Additionally, Sidhu had said that General Bajwa had promised to 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," Sidhu had explained.