The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday slammed Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu for hugging Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Demanding his immediate suspension from the party, the BJP also cornered Sidhu for sitting beside the President of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) at the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
"Sidhu during his visit to Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan's Prime Minister, hugged Pakistan's Army Chief," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told media persons.
The BJP spokesperson also objected to Sidhu sitting beside PoK President Masood Khan during Imran's swearing-in.
"It is not an ordinary thing. Sidhu is not an ordinary man but a minister in the Punjab government. And every Indian has taken this issue very seriously," he added, asking why Sidhu did not object when the PoK President was made to sit next to him.
BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra while addressing a press briefing said, “it is no less than a crime that a Congress member and cabinet minister in Punjab government went to Pakistan for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan and acted in a certain way."
On the Sidhu-Bajwa hug, Patra said, "hugging General Bajwa is a bigger crime. General is known for the fact that his intervention has caused multiple deaths of innocents in India."
Raising questions on whether Rahul Gandhi had allowed Sidhu to visit Pakistan, the BJP also attacked the Congress party over statements made by some of its leaders on their visits to Pakistan.
“Rahul ji, did you grant permission to Sidhu to go to Pakistan? Will you suspend him before his arrival in the country?” Patra asked.
Recalling statements made by some other Congress leaders in the past, the spokesperson said, "Salman Khurshid, one of the former minister and diplomat went to Pakistan on November 13, 2015 and said Pakistan is working towards peace whereas India is hindering the process.”
“On November 17, Mani Shankar Aiyar gave an interview in Pakistan and asked for bringing down the Modi government. On 21st June 2018, Ghulam Nabi Azad also made a similar controversial statement by claiming that, 'when Indian army tries to kill terrorists, it hardly kills one terrorist and eliminates 20 civilians'," he added.
The BJP spokesperson's remarks came after Sidhu's participation in the ceremony and his remarks to the media there that he hoped ties between New Delhi and Islamabad would improve with Imran Khan at the helm.
Earlier today, Sidhu attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad and later addressed the media.