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Relations with Pak to improve with Imran Khan as PM: Sidhu

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

With cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan set to become Pakistan’s Prime Minister, his fellow former cricketer and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday said he hopes Indo-Pak relations would improve with the change of government in the neighbouring country.

Answering to a question during the ‘Meet The Press’ programme in Chandigarh Press Club, Sidhu said sportsmen break barriers and unite people.

“I see a sportsman in great Imran Khan and I see someone who will always do good to mankind. I have great hopes that relations will improve,” he said.

“I believe this could be a new era, this could be a new dawn and this could usher in an era of hope,” Sidhu added. Calling Khan a trustworthy politician, the former batsman said he is someone who is trust worthy.

“When you look at him, you want to trust him. When his mother died of cancer, he constructed a cancer hospital where world-class doctors now treat patients for free. It tells you the intention of the man. From winning one seat to becoming the prime minister, he has risen from the scratch. He didn’t bow down when he faced rejection. I have seen him turn weakness into his strength, obstacles into stepping stones, and disaster into triumph. He fought the system and today he has been empowered to change the system,” Sidhu said.

The Punjab minister, who has been invited by Khan to attend his swearing in as PM, said he would attend the same as it was privilege to be among the first invitees. “It’s a wonderful gesture. If I am allowed, then I will definitely go. It is a huge honour,” he said citing the clearance required from the Centre for the Pakistan visit.

Asked whether PM Narendra Modi should attend Khan’s oath-taking ceremony if an invitation extended to him, Sidhu said he was nobody to comment. Sidhu recalled how he first met Khan at Faridabad in 1983 during a cricket match and they developed a mutual respect.

“We have shared a special relationship since 1983. I had heard that he was a Greek God, but when I first saw him, I felt that if there were parameters to assess looks, he was ahead of a Greek god,” he said.