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Under fire, Sidhu promises response when needed

“Whenever the reply has to be given, I will give and I will give it to all… It will be a strong reply,” Sidhu.

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

A day after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh criticised his minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for hugging Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa at Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, the cricketer-turned-politician on Monday said he was prepared to give a strong reply to everybody when needed.

“Whenever the reply has to be given, I will give and I will give it to all… It will be a strong reply,” Sidhu, the only Indian to attend Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony, said in Chandigarh.

Amarinder Singh had said Sidhu’s gesture of hugging the Pakistan Army chief was completely avoidable when Indian soldiers were getting killed every day on the border.

After all, it is the Army Chief who gives the orders to kill, with the soldiers merely following his orders, said Amarinder Singh. Pakistan’s Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa is responsible for the deaths of our soldiers and Sidhu should not have shown such niceties towards him, said the CM.

On Sidhu’s sitting next to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir “president” Masood Khan at the ceremony, Amarinder said the Punjab minister possibly did not know who he was and in any case the seating arrangement was not in his hands. The CM dismissed the Opposition demand for Sidhu’s resignation as not important.

On his return from Pakistan on Sunday, Sidhu, however, defended his action, asking what was he supposed to do when someone tells him that “we belong to the same culture” and talks of opening the route to the historic Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.