Pak visit: War of words between Navjot Singh Sidhu and Harsimrat Kaur Badal
New Delh, Sep 18: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and Shiromani Akali Dal leader and Union Minister for Food and Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal sparred over the former's Pakistan visit and his claims relating to the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
Sidhu had courted controversy by hugging Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. He had claimed that he did so as Bajwa told him that the Pakistan government was working out opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims from Indian state of Punjab.
The controversy around Sidhu's visit was rekindled Monday when Sidhu met Swaraj in New Delhi and urged her to help initiate dialogue with Pakistan on the opening up of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. Badal, however, claimed that Swaraj "reprimanded" Sidhu for "messing up" the issue of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor dialogue.
Union minister accuses Navjot Sidhu of misleading people
Badal on Tuesday accused Sidhu of misleading people about Pakistan's alleged assurance on allowing Sikh pilgrims direct access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, along the India-Pakistan border, next year. The gurdwara is currently built on the site where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, died on September 22, 1539.
"When he [Sidhu] returned he was shown black flags, everyone was angry that he went there and hugged someone who kills our people," Harsimrat Kaur Badal said. "Instead of apologising, he played with people's sentiments...He said he hugged general as he said Kartarpur corridor will be opened."
The Union minister said a week had passed but neither the Pakistani government nor Sidhu have produced any document on the matter.
Sidhu, in a press conference, claimed that he had taken the first step towards peace and asked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take up the issue of Kartarpur Sahib corridor for Sikh pilgrims from the Indian state of Punjab.
"We had a detailed discussion during the meeting, I explained to her (Sushma Swaraj) about the necessity of opening of the Kartarpur corridor. A formal request should go from India's side. (The minister) said to me, 'the draft is being prepared and I will write a letter," Mr Sidhu said.
He claimed that he had written to the foreign minister once earlier during the parliament session, urging that New Delhi reciprocate after Pakistan's "gesture".
Is Navjot Sidhu ji a Pakistan spokesperson? asks Vijay Sampla
Speaking to ANI, union minister Vijay Sampla said, "Is Navjot Sidhu ji a Pakistan spokesperson? Is he a Pakistani Govt official? It is Pakistan which has to officially put out a statement or communication on this(Kartarpur corridor), not him. Unfortunately, he thinks politics is also a comedy show."
Sidhu has gone mental, says Sukhbir Singh Badal
He has gone mental. I think he has close relations with ISI and Pakistan, his call details should be probed, says Sukhbir Singh Badal on Navjot Singh Sidhu.