Min­is­ter re­it­er­ated that he does not re­gret hug­ging Pak­istan Army Chief Sidhu can re­late more with Pak than South In­dia

Deccan Chronicle - - NATION - DC COR­RE­SPON­DENT NEW DELHI, OCT. 13

When I go to South In­dia, I can hardly un­der­stand a word. But if I go to Pak­istan, they speak Pun­jabi and English and I can re­late to them more. — Navjot Singh

Sidhu, Pun­jab min­is­ter

Ex­press­ing his love for Pak­istan once again, Pun­jab min­is­ter Navjot Singh Sidhu has said that vis­it­ing the neigh­bour coun­try is bet­ter than go­ing to South In­dia due to ‘lan­guage and food prob­lems’. He also re­it­er­ated that he does not re­gret hug­ging Pak­istan Army chief Qa­mar Javed Ba­jwa.

Sidhu was in Kasauli to par­tic­i­pate in the 7th Khush­want Singh Lit­er­a­ture Fest. The ac­tor­turned-politi­cian said, “When I go to South In­dia, I can hardly un­der­stand a word, ex­cept for two-three like vadakkam. I am okay with the food there. I can have dishes like idli but then I can­not have the South In­dian cui­sine for long. That cul­ture is to­tally dif­fer­ent. But if I go to Pak­istan, they speak Pun­jabi and English and I can re­late to them more.”

The state­ment gave birth to fresh con­tro­versy as the Pun­jab min­is­ter was al­ready fac­ing po­lit­i­cal storm af­ter hug­ging the Pak­istani army chief dur­ing Im­ran Khan’s oath-tak­ing cer­e­mony in Pak­istan. He had later clar­i­fied that it was a spon­ta­neous re­ac­tion af­ter Mr Ba­jwa told him that Pak­istan would open the Kar­tarpur bor­der for Sikhs from In­dia’s Pun­jab to visit to Kar­tarpur Sahib Gur­d­wara in Pak­istan.

When asked about the hug­ging row, Mr Sidhu said that if Pak­istan ac­tu­ally opens the cor­ri­dor for In­dian Sikhs, “leave aside jhappi (hug), I would give him a pappi (kiss)”. “Pun­jab is no longer the state it used to be. It was made up of five rivers, but two went to Pak­istan af­ter par­ti­tion,” he fur­ther added.

Pak­istan Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan had backed Sidhu by call­ing him an “am­bas­sador of peace” when he was crit­i­cised by the rul­ing BJP.

“Those in In­dia who tar­geted him are do­ing a great dis­ser­vice to peace in the sub­con­ti­nent - with­out peace our peo­ple can't progress,” Mr Khan had said.

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