Friendship over country 'condemnable': Dalbir Kaur

 Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh. Image courtesy ANI/Twitter

Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh who died in a Pakistan jail in 2013, today hit out at Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying he chose friendship over the country by attending the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan's prime minister.

She also raised questions over Sidhu hugging Pakistan army chief when there were repeated instances of ceasefire violations along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir in the recent past.

"Besides praising Imran Khan, Sidhu also said that 'Hindustan jive te Pakistan jive, hasda wasda eh sara jahan jive' (India, Pakistan and the whole world should prosper). Before using such an expression on Pakistani soil, Sidhu should have pondered whether any Pakistani leader, artist or player heaped similar praise on India on Indian soil," the Amritsar-based Kaur asked.

Sidhu did not restrict himself to lavishing praise but even "warmly hugged the Army chief of Pakistan" at the swearing-in ceremony yesterday trusting that General Qamar Javed Bajwa believes in peace, she added.

How could Sidhu, while hugging and exchanging smiles, forget that Pakistan is the same nation which has repeatedly indulged in ceasefire violations at the LoC in which many of our jawans have been martyred and many civilians killed.

"Being a member of the legislative assembly from Amritsar, which lies on the border with Pakistan, Sidhu, more than anyone else, should have felt the pain of border residents of J&K and what they have to face when there is unprovoked shelling from the Pakistani side," Kaur said.

But he is seen hugging the Pak Army chief and seated next to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) President Masood Khan, to which he does not object, Kaur added.

Kaur's brother Sarabjit died following an attack on him by the inmates of a Lahore prison in April 2013. He was convicted of terrorism and spying by a Pakistani court and sentenced to death in 1991. However, the government had stayed his execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

Kaur also questioned "in what capacity Sidhu said that he has brought 'a message of love' to Pakistan as a goodwill ambassador of India. I want to ask the government whether they had deputed him as a goodwill ambassador?".

Wearing a dark blue suit and a purple turban, Sidhu was among the special guests present at the oath-taking ceremony at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (President House) in Islamabad Saturday on the invitation of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.

Kaur claimed that Sidhu, a Congress leader and former Indian cricketer, "chose friendship with Imran Khan over his country. Sidhu's act of going to Pakistan when relations between the two neighbours are not good because of Pakistan's behaviour and when India is the mourning loss of a former premier is a condemnable act."

India is mourning the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but Sidhu is the only Indian attending the swearing-in ceremony in Pakistan, she said.

"At a time when he should have joined the nation its hour of grief, he chose to join a celebratory occasion in Pakistan. At least, Sidhu should have recalled those days when he used to call Vajpayee ji as his mentor," Kaur said.

When former captains Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar, who were also invited by Imran Khan chose not to go citing personal engagements, Sidhu could have declined the invitation as the nation was mourning Vajpayee's demise," she added.

Opposition parties Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP have also hit out at Sidhu for attending the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan.

The ties between the two countries were strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016 and India's surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The sentencing of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to death by a Pak military court in April last year also led to the deterioration of bilateral ties. 

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Friendship over country 'condemnable': Dalbir Kaur

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