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'Hugging the Pakistani army chief is anti-national'

August 22, 2018 11:54 IST

'The way he hugged Bajwa was an insult for all our martyrs who died serving our nation.'

Knowingly or unknowingly, Navjot Singh Sidhu often gets into trouble.

After provoking a political slugfest over his hugging Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa when Imran Khan was sworn in as Pakistan's prime minister, the Punjab minister now confronts legal troubles over the embrace.

Sudhir Kumar Ojha, an advocate from Muzaffarpur, Bihar, known for his penchant to file cases against the high and mighty, has fired a legal salvo at the irrepressible cricketer-turned-politician.

"When did Bajwa become a personal friend of Sidhu?" Ojha -- who has filed 585 cases against different celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar -- asks Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

Why have you filed a case against Navjot Singh Sidhu?

India was mourning our beloved Atal Bihari Vajpayee and at that moment Sidhu was partying and holidaying in Pakistan celebrating the swearing-in of its Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Secondly, the way he hugged Pakistan army chief General Bajwa was an insult to all our martyrs who died serving our nation. By doing so, he has rubbed salt into the wounds of the families of many martyrs.

He hugged a man whose army beheaded our soldiers. And being a minister of Punjab and a former cricketer, Sidhu has gone against India and hurt the sentiments of Indians.

It is sedition.

What about Sidhu's personal choice, his freedom? Does he not have the right to choose what he wants to do?

Sidhu is not an ordinary man. He is a minister in the Punjab government. He should have taken permission from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh before going to Pakistan.

No minister can travel abroad without taking permission from the chief minister and that is written in our Constitution.

Once you become a minister you represent the whole state of Punjab.

If he was an ordinary man, there was no problem in visiting Pakistan, but Sidhu is a minister.

 

Captain Amarinder Singh too did not like Sidhu hugging General Bajwa.

It is written in the Constitution that a minister has to take permission. I feel he did not take permission from Captain Amarinder Singh before going to Pakistan.

Even Captain Amarinder Singh had no idea about Sidhu's visit to Pakistan.

What case have you filed against Sidhu?

I have filed a case of sedition against Sidhu under Section 124A (sedition), 153B (assertions prejudicial to national interest) and 504 (provoking breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code.

Does it mean that all those who visit Pakistan are anti-national?

Visiting Pakistan is not anti-national, but hugging the Pakistani army chief is anti-national.

Sitting next to the president of Pakistan occupied Kashmir is anti-national.

This is happening when India is mourning Vajpayee. It means we should not celebrate in the country, and here Sidhu is partying in Pakistan.

Sidhu said after he hugged General Bajwa, Pakistan agreed to open up the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara on Guru Nanak Dev's 550th death anniversary.

That statement is an afterthought by Sidhu.

Imran Khan says Sidhu is talking of peace and therefore, his visit to Pakistan must not be criticised.

Read what Imran Khan's foreign minister also said. He has already started making statements against India.

Some people in India may trust the Pakistani establishment, but people like me will never trust them.

Many Indians say no one objected when Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi hugged then Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif on December 25, 2015. So why object to Sidhu's hug?

When Prime Minister Modi went to Pakistan he took permission from the President of India before doing so. You find out this truth.

Secondly, when a prime minister meets another PM and hugs him, it is civility and etiquette.

Moreover, when a PM visits another country, he goes for the good cause of the country.

And more importantly, when Modiji visited Pakistan there was no mourning period in India.

If PM Modi had hugged Nawaz Sharif when there was a mourning period in India, then I would have filed a case against him too.

Does it mean Prime Minister Modi has to take the President's permission each time he travels abroad?

Whenever the PM travels abroad, he informs the home ministry and the President of India.

I recall very well when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was going abroad, Sardar Patel stopped him at the airport because Nehru had not taken the home ministry's permission before his travel. This is documented.

Some people are calling your petition a publicity stunt.

Whenever you do good work, then some people will praise you and some will criticise you, that is life.

Ninety-nine percent of the people are praising me for my work and therefore, I do not stop doing my work.

My case against Sidhu has been admitted in court.

Sidhu says Imran Khan is his personal friend.

Agreed. Imran is Sidhu's personal friend, but what about Bajwa?

Is he also a personal friend of Sidhu? And what about Masood Khan (the PoK president), is he also a personal friend of Sidhu? He was sitting next to him.

I have not even mentioned Imran Khan in my case. I understand Imran is a personal friend of Sidhu.

My problem is with Bajwa. When did Bajwa become a personal friend of Sidhu?

Sidhu says his seat was changed five minutes before the event with his chair close to Bajwa and Masood Khan.

Now he will say all those things in his defence. I do not believe his clarification.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf / Rediff.com
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