Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij lambasted cricketer-turned-politician and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu today for attending the swearing-in of former cricketer Imran Khan as the prime minister of Pakistan. Khan, who famously captained the national cricket team to World Cup glory in 1992, had invited some of his former teammates and friends to witness his formal accession to the top ministerial job in the country.
Wearing a dark blue suit and a purple turban, Sidhu was among the special guests present at the oath-taking ceremony at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad today. Vij termed Sidhu’s participation in the ceremony as an “act of disloyalty” towards India which “will not be endorsed by any patriotic citizen” of the country.
Speaking to mediapersons, the Haryana minister also lashed out at Sidhu for “ignoring the sentimental and grieved occasion of his country” which is observing mourning following the demise of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“The Union government has announced a seven-day national mourning following the death of former prime minister Vajpayee, but Sidhu preferred to join the swearing-in ceremony of Khan in Pakistan, ignoring the sentimental and grieved occasion of his country,” Vij said. He said it was beyond doubt that Sidhu has friendly relation with Khan but “friendship was not bigger than the country”.
Vij said that at a time when most of the leaders of the ruling as well as opposition parties were present in Delhi to pay their tributes to Vajpayee, Sidhu was “enjoying Khan’s celebration” in Islamabad. He demanded that the Punjab chief minister should take up the matter seriously and initiate “strict action” against Sidhu for his alleged “anti-national” act.