Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu is facing a sedition complaint for allegedly insulting the Indian Army by hugging the Pakistan army chief at Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony.
How is it okay to hug Pak PM but not army chief if the chief is key to peace process? Sidhu said his visit to Pakistan was “not about politics” and called the hug an “emotional” response.
What Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu did was right. He had gone to Pakistan as a friend of their Prime Minister Imran Khan, not as an Indian politician. Punjab’s cultural heritage lies in Pakistan as well. Those who are criticising Sidhu for going there are not expected to view Punjab’s relationship with Pakistan in the same way as we do here.
His hug to their army chief was a spontaneous reaction borne out of a natural civility which men and women in public life are used to. Politicians of opposing parties hug and greet one another all the time. They exchange courtesies despite the differences, laugh together share food and drinks. What is the rationale being used to claim that it is “alright” to hug the Pakistan PM but not the army chief? In fact, it is the army chief whom India should be engaging with more often if they want to sort out the issues between the two nations.
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Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has disapproved of what Sidhu did because I believe he does not want another emerging leader in his party in the state. The Akalis criticised him because he took up the cause of the Kartarpur corridor with them there. The Akalis think it is their sole right to push these agendas without realizing that if Sidhu’s visit leads to the opening of the corridor it would be a big milestone in the Indo-Pakistan peace process as well.
In fact, India should use Sidhu, who is a personal friend of Pakistan’s PM for all subsequent peace talks. He would be an asset to India to start any constructive engagement with Pakistan in the future.