Sidhu calls for parallel dialogue with Pakistan

The cricketer-turned-politician, who was among the invitees for the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan prime minister last year, however posed, "For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual?" PTI File Photo.

As outrage grows against Pakistan over the killing of Indian soldiers, Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is a close friend of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Friday called for parallel talks with Pakistan for a permanent solution.

Sidhu advocated the dialogue route to help matters, advising that abusing someone (Pakistan) may not solve the problem. His senior most cabinet colleague and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, however, said, "the time to talk peace with Pakistan is over". He sought retaliation from the central government against the neighbouring country.

While Sidhu condemned the perpetrators of the terror strike in an unequivocal manner, maintaining that such people need to be punished, he held that an entire Kaum (community) cannot be painted with the same brush.

Both Sidhu and Imran Khan have shared a good rapport from the days of their cricketing career. Sidhu, despite being advised by Capt Amarinder Singh against going to Islamabad for Imran Khan’s coronation as PM, made sure he visited Pakistan to be a part of Khan’s big day. Sidhu did not criticise Khan for Thursday’s attack, but has been singing paeans of praise for Khan in the past.

Sidhu said wherever war takes place such tragic incidents occur, but parallel dialogue also takes place for a permanent solution.

Impact on Kartarpur?

Meanwhile, the likely impact of the killing of Indian soldiers on the historical Kartarpur corridor link connecting Pakistan and Punjab is still unclear. Punjab chief minister hoped the attack will not impact Kartarpur corridor. Captain Amarinder said he was confident the corridor would be well protected but said there was need for a change in attitude on the part of Pakistan if peace between the two countries was to be promoted.

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha passed a unanimous resolution strongly condemning the barbaric attack by Jaish terrorists on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama.

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