Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that Navjot Singh Sidhu’s popularity was so high in Pakistan that he could win election even in the neighbouring country. Speaking during the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, Khan said that India and Pakistan did not have to wait for Sidhu to become the Indian prime minister for the two countries to improve their ties.
He said, “I saw how Sidhu was criticised after he returned from Pakistan about three months ago. I’ve not been able to understand till date why he faced the criticism. What crime did he commit by coming here with a message of peace and friendship? He is trying to achieve peace between two such countries that are nuclear armed. We both (India and Pakistan) have atom bombs. So there’s no question of a war. It will be insane for these countries to even consider having a war since both are armed with nuclear weapons. Only a fool can think that one of them will be a winner. Everyone will lose (if there’s a war).”
He then invited Sidhu to contest polls in Pakistani, assuring him of his victory even across the border. He said, “Masha Allah, Sidhu, you should come over here and contest elections. You will win particularly in Punjab.”
Khan also took a veiled dig at Indian Prime Minister Naredra Modi calling him a politician who thrived by spreading hatred. He said, “As I said, there are two kind of politicians. One who thrives in spreading hatred and the other, who takes bold decisions for the larger good of their citizens. Let’s not wait for Sidhu to become the prime minister for India and Pakistan to become friends.”
The Pakistani prime minister, also a World Cup winning captain, praised Sidhu for his expertise in sufism. He said, “I heard my friend Navjot Singh Sidhu speak today and was greatly impressed by his speech. I always knew he was a great cricketer and commentator, but did not know he had experise even in sufiism.”
Sidhu, a former India cricketer himself, had faced criticism from the BJP, whose leaders accused him of being sympethatic to Pakistan after he attended the swearing ceremony of Imran Khan this year. It was during his trip to Pakistan, when the neighbouring country’s army chief, General Qamar Bajwa, had offered to open the Kartarpur border for Indian Sikhs to travel to Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara.