Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu today arrived here to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his friend Imran Khan as Pakistan prime minister. Wearing a blue suit and a pink turban, Sidhu arrived Lahore via the Wagah border from where he will travel to Islamabad to attend Khan’s oath-taking ceremony scheduled for tomorrow.
Sidhu used his usual poetic expression while interacting with reporters. Welcoming the “change” in Pakistan’s democracy with the election of Khan as prime minister, he said Khan should come forward in peace initiative between the two neighbours.
He said he has brought “a message of love” to Pakistan as a goodwill ambassador of India. “I have come here not as a politician but as a friend. I have come here to take part in the happiness of my friend (Imran),” he said, adding sportsmen and artistes help bringing the people of two sides closer. “Hindustan jeevay, Pakistan jeevay,” he chanted while reading a verse. Sidhu said former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away yesterday, also talked about peace between the two countries.
Quoting late Vajpayee, he said, “If there is a fire at a neighbour’s house we get the heat of it.” Talking about the qualities of Khan, the former cricketer said: “I have seen Khan converting his weaknesses into his strength. I wish Imran becomes a symbol of prosperity (for his country).”
Replying to a query on the gift he has brought for the former Pakistan Test captain, Sidhu said: “I have brought a Kashmiri shawl for Khan sahib.” Earlier this week, former Indian cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev whom Khan had invited on his swearing-in had declined the invitation citing personal engagements.