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Sidhu steals show in Pakistan 

Kartarpur, November 28

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday came in for wholesome praise from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and several other Pakistani leaders for his “persistent” efforts in pushing for the Katarpur corridor project.

Sidhu’s “contribution” for the project was even prominently mentioned in a short film on the Katarpur corridor, which was showed after the foundation-laying ceremony of the project here.

“Whatever I have seen since yesterday, I can tell you Sidhu, you will win elections here if you contest, particularly in Punjab,” Khan said jokingly, while hailing the former cricketer’s efforts to push for the corridor.

Khan said only leaders with determination can improve strained ties between the two countries. “I hope we do not have to wait till Sidhu becomes Wazir-e-Azam (prime minister),” Khan said. His comments drew laud applause from the audience.

Khan wondered why there was a hue and cry back home over the former Indian cricketer’s push for peace and brotherhood during his previous visit to the country around three months ago. 

“I heard there was a lot of criticism of Sidhu when he went back. I don’t know why was he criticised? He was just talking about peace between two countries,” Khan said.

“It is foolish for anyone to think there can be war between two nuclear-armed countries as there is no winning for anyone. So, if there can be no war then what other way is there other than friendship?” he added.

Sidhu attended Khan’s swearing-in ceremony, and had hugged Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, drawing severe criticism in India.

General Bajwa had talked about Pakistan’s plan on Kartarpur corridor project after the hug.

In his address, Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister Nurul Haq Qadri said: “A number of problems between the two countries can be resolved if we have more such hugs.” A number of Sikh pilgrims from India also credited Sidhu for the corridor.

“Sidhu is the architect of the corridor project. We are indebted to him. His contribution must be hailed,” said Pooran Singh, a 65-year-old pilgrim from Amritsar.

In his address, Navjot Sidhu was effusive in his praise for PM Imran Khan.

“Khan’s name will be written in golden letters when the history of the Kartarpur corridor is written,” Sidhu said in his speech, which was interspersed with Punjabi couplet. “I am impressed by what Sidhu said. I didn’t know he knows so much about Sufi poetry,” said Khan.

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