Navjot Singh Sidhu greets Pakistan PM, Imran Khan with a shawl
The former Indian cricketer, a member of the Indian National Congress now, was also seen exchanging pleasantries with Pakistani Army Chief.
Updated - Aug 18, 2018 9:36 pm
His legendary compatriots turned the invitation down but former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at his oath-taking ceremony in Islamabad on Saturday, August 18. Sidhu, a cricketer-turned-politician himself who is currently a cabinet minister in the government of Punjab greeted the 22nd incumbent at the national capital and gifted him a Kashmiri shawl.
The former Indian opener was seen shaking hands and hugging Khan and joining a meeting which was chaired by the PM and attended by several former Pakistani players, including Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Abdul Qadir and others. The newly sworn-in prime minister was accompanied by leaders of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – Faisal Javed and Neemul Haq on the occasion.
Khan had invited former Indian captains Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev besides Sidhu but both turned it down citing pre-engagements. Sidhu reached Pakistan on Friday, August 17, through the Wagah Border and from Lahore, he left for Islamabad.
Sidhu hugged Pakistan army chief
The former Indian cricketer, a member of the Indian National Congress now, was also seen exchanging pleasantries with Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and hugging the latter at Khan’s oath-taking ceremony on Saturday.
The 54-year-old politician, who played 51 Tests for India between 1983 and 1999, described Khan as a “heartthrob to millions” and that his election as the prime minister of Pakistan was a “new dawn”. His arrival in Pakistan though was not taken lightly at home. The Bharatiya Janata Party, Sidhu’s former party, said his visit to Pakistan was “shameful”. It also asked the need for Sidhu to go to the neighbouring country when India was mourning the death of its former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The Twitterati wasn’t in a mood to spare him either. “Curse on you Sidhu sahib, curse on you. How will you answer to your country and your people?” one critic on Twitter lashed out at the former cricketer.
Sidhu was granted a 14-day visa by the Pakistan High Commission after he applied for a permission from the Government of India about his visit to Pakistan.