Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has revealed how his cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu rejected his advice that he shouldn’t travel to Pakistan for the opening of Kartarpur Sahib corridor. The Punjab chief minister said that Sidhu had indeed sought his permission on whether he can travel to Pakistan but he had asked him to decline the invitation.
“Yes he did ask me. He has to ask his chief minister, otherwise he doesn’t get the permission. He then applied probably based on that to Delhi. But then I spoke to him that day when he was in Madhya Pradesh. And I told him that I had written a letter to the foreign minister declining and I think I sent a copy of that letter to him on the Facebook. I said ‘you have a look at it.’ He said ‘but I’ve already accepted.’ I said ‘then you can say that now my chief minister has taken a stand I am going to opt out.’ Then he told he ‘alright, I will call you by the evening.’ Then, of course he didn’t call me and he went,” Singh told News18 in an interview.
He, however, made it clear Sidhu’s decision to travel to Pakistan against his wishes did not irk him. “But that’s ok. He has a friendship with Imran (Khan), that’s one side of the story. Keep that friendship. I’m very fond of Pervez Ilahi (former Pakistani Punjab chief minister). He came and stayed with me in Patiala. I went over there. We arranged sports. We’ve done our best to bring about peace in two countries.”
Singh had said that even though Pakistani army chief General Qamar Bajwa may have told Sidhu that his country was taking the decision to opne the Kartarpur border in a good will gesture towards his visit to Pakistan, but ‘these decisions are not taken by somebody whispering into somebody’s ears.’ “These decision are taken government to government.” He said that since the corridor was opened during the BJP government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take credit for the development.
Sidhu had traveled to Pakistan in August to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. It was during this trip, when he claimed General Bajwa had informed him about Pakistan’s intention to open the Kartarpur border.
Singh said that reports of a rift between him and Sidhu had no truth. He said, “He’s a very likeable boy. He’s a decent boy. I’ve known him since he was two-year-old. He’s a Patiala boy. When my mother was in parliament, his father was the district Congress president.”
“I don’t think there’s anything to raise an issue about. I think he said this by mistake. I think sometimes he answers questions in forthright manner. But sometimes, he shoots before he thinks… We are not at loggerheads. I have no problem with him.”