Sidhu’s Pak visit no less than a crime: BJP

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Congress party over its party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s Pakistan visit and said that his visit was “no less than a crime”.

Addressing a press briefing, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “It is no less than a crime that a Congress member and cabinet minister in Punjab government went to Pakistan for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan and acted in a certain way.”

Patra also cornered Sidhu for hugging Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and sitting next to President of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) Masood Khan.

“Navjot Singh Sidhu is not just an individual but also a member of a political party and a cabinet minister in the Punjab government. The Congress needs to answer some serious questions in this regard. As per the protocol, Sidhu was not going to sit with PoK President. Initially, Masood Khan was sitting at the back but was later brought to the front and made to sit with Sidhu. Navjot must have known that this man is the alleged President of PoK. He should have objected from sitting next to him,” Patra added.

On the Sidhu-Bajwa hug, Patra said, “Hugging General Bajwa is a bigger crime. General is known for the fact that his intervention has caused multiple deaths of innocents in India.”

Recalling statements made by some other Congress leaders in the past, the spokesperson said, “Salman Khurshid, one of the former minister and diplomat went to Pakistan on 13th November 2015 and said that Pakistan is working towards peace whereas India is hindering the process.

On 17th November, Mani Shankar Aiyar gave an interview in Pakistan and asked for bringing down the Modi government. On 21st June 2018, Ghulam Nabi Azad also made a similar controversial statement by claiming that, ‘when Indian army tries to kill terrorists, it hardly kills one terrorist and eliminates 20 civilians’.”

Patra also demanded Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s stance on Sidhu’s visit and asked him whether the Punjab cabinet minister would be sacked before his return to India. “We demand Rahul Gandhi to answer whether he granted permission to Navjot Sidhu to go to Pakistan or not?” Patra asked.

Earlier today, Sidhu attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad and later addressed the media.