Sidhu's decision to visit Pakistan his 'way of thinking': Amarinder Singh

File photo of Navjot Singh Sidhu. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

PTI Gurdaspur, Punjab, India Nov 26, 2018, 08.40 PM (IST)

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said Monday his minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's decision to visit Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony of Kartarpur corridor was "his way of thinking" but he could not think of doing that when Indian soldiers and civilians were being killed by them.

Sidhu, a cabinet minister in Punjab, on Sunday accepted Pakistan's invitation to attend the ceremony on Wednesday, while Singh declined the invite, citing continuous terrorist attacks in his state.

As a man who has served the Indian Army, Singh said, he could not tolerate the killing of innocent Indians by Pakistani security forces and hence cannot visit the neighbouring country.

On Sidhu's decision to go to Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony there, Singh told reporters after the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib Corridor in Gurdaspur, that it was "his way of thinking".

On the central government's decision to send its ministers to Pakistan for the ceremony, the Punjab chief minister said it was for them to do what they deem fit but, he added, they should have been more sensitive to the feelings of Indian soldiers and citizens.

"The Centre cannot close its eyes to what is happening in India as a result of Pakistan's policy and support to terrorist groups," Singh said.

He said the world knows Pakistan supports terrorist activities in India, and cited as examples the attacks in Pathankot (2016), Mumbai (2008), Dina Nagar in Gurdaspur (2015) and the trouble in Jammu & Kashmir.

Singh said he would not travel to Pakistan until it stops unleashing the cycle of violence in India.

"If you think (Pakistan Prime Minister) Imran Khan can stop it, that won't happen. Governments work under the army in Pakistan. Army is a power in itself. It is for Pakistan Army chief Gen Bajwa to understand that such things should not happen (again)... Armies don't fight innocent women and children, armies don't throw grenades on religious congregation, armies are there to defend the country," he said.

In August, Sidhu's visit to Pakistan for Khan's swearing-in had come under fire from opposition parties for his hug to Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. Sidhu had claimed that Gen Bajwa had told him about "making efforts to open the Kartarpur corridor".

Kartarpur is in Shakargarh in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, had spent over 18 years of his life here.

The Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is about three-four km from the border in Pakistan. 

Story highlights

As a man who has served the Indian Army, Singh said, he could not tolerate the killing of innocent Indians by Pakistani security forces and hence cannot visit the neighbouring country.