Sidhu credits his hug to Pak Army chief for Kartarpur corridor development

Bhopal: Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday took credit for the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan saying that it was his hug to Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during Islamabad visit that has pushed the Centre to take initiative in developing the proposed corridor.

Speaking to media, Sidhu said, “My hug turned out good for 15-16 crores of people as the central government is now making move to develop the corridor from the International Border to Gurudwara Kartapur Sahib. At least this deal was not similar to Rafale deal”.

On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a Note Verbale to the Pakistan government urging it to develop a corridor with suitable facilities in its territory from the International Border to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib.

The cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday approved to build and develop the proposed corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the International Border. This would allow pilgrims from India to visit Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.

In August this year, Sidhu visited Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan. During the visit, he hugged the Army Chief of Pakistan drawing flak from various quarters.

Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal had rebuked him saying, “This minister (Sidhu) from Punjab government betrayed the lakhs of soldiers deployed on the borders by hugging Pakistani General Bajwa. He kept his friendship above the country. Our people were outraged by his actions, when he returned, he was shown black flags, and everyone was angry that he went there and hugged someone who kills our people.”

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also did not consider Sidhu’s approach correct. “I do honestly believe that Navjot Singh Sidhu has a lot of admirers and followers. He has been a very popular cricketer and also runs a lot of TV shows. He has got his own following. Somebody of that stature going (to Pakistan) and then there hugging the Chief of the Army-an Army about which in India we have very clear feelings-certainly has an impact on the soldiers, on all the people in the Ministry and the public,” said Sitharaman.