Express News Service
CHANDIGARH: Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has confirmed that he has received an invitation and personal phone call from the Pakistan Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan to attend his swearing-in ceremony..
Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said that he had personally got a letter from the office of the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party to attend the ceremony on on August 18 and replied that he will attend it for sure
The letter states, “It is indeed a great pleasure to have invited you for the oath-taking ceremony of PTI’s Chairman Imran Khan as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The event will be held in Islamabad on (Saturday) August 18. We would want you to kindly grace this historic occasion with your presence.”
“Our Chairman’s Secretary will stay in touch with you regarding further coordination and details,” it further added.
Sidhu says that not only the official invitation letter, Imran Khan had also called him up personally and invited him for the oath-taking.
He said, “Sidhu ji, tussi aana zaroor hai.” (Sidhu you have to surely come). To this, Sidhu said that he replied that he would surely attend the ceremony.
Sidhu said, “My office has intimated the offices of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, besides Secretary (Protocol) Punjab, Kripa Shanker has been forwarded the invite.”
A few days ago Sidhu had termed the former cricketer and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief as a man of character who can be trusted.
Sidhu had said, “I have a very cordial relationship with Khan Sahib, I’ve known him since 1983 when I played with him for the first time at Faridabad. He slipped and fell down when he bowled the first ball to me. He then got up and told the umpire that there was sawdust and then bowled the next ball which hit me in my stomach. I was in pain and he came to me and asked – Sardar Sahib – everything okay? and I said yes. After that he did not bowl a bouncer. In the evening he even inquired about me.”
Singing praises of Imran, Sidhu recalled, “In 1986 when I went to Pakistan, I built a bond with him as I considered him a pure soul. He was a selfless man and did everything for his team. If I have to define a great leader, it is a person who does not ask people to believe him but believes in people. From non-entities, he has created heroes including fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. These players did not even have shoes to play during their initial days.”
Sidhu said that when he goes to Pakistan, he will talk to Imran about the celebrations to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in 2019 and also about the corridor to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, which is approachable from Dera Baba Nanak.
Sidhu was among the first cricketers from India to congratulate Imran Khan after his party emerged as the single-largest party following the July 25 elections in the neighbouring country.