File photo of Navjot Singh Sidhu. Photograph:( AFP )
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday referred to the former Pakistan cricketer Imran Khan as a Greek god and a pure soul and hoped relations between India and Pakistan would improve with Khan becoming his country's prime minister.
Sidhu said he would attend the swearing-in.
"If I am allowed, then I will definitely go. It is a huge honour," the Punjab minister said, alluding to a clearance by the Centre.
"My personal opinion is that sportsmen break barriers. They unite people. I see a sportsman in great Imran khan and I see someone who will always do good to mankind. I have great hopes that relations will improve," Sidhu told PTI.
''I believe this could be a new era, this could be a new dawn and this could usher in an era of hope," Sidhu told reporters.
Sidhu figures in the list of Indian celebrities who have reportedly been invited for Khan's swearing-in ceremony. These include actor Aamir Khan and former cricketers Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar.
Imran Khan's party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has emerged as the single largest party in Pakistan's National Assembly after the July 25 general election, but lacks the numbers to form the government on its own.
Khan had reportedly said he would take oath as Pakistan's prime minister on August 11.
Asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi should attend Khan's oath-taking ceremony if an invitation extended to him, Sidhu said he was nobody to comment.
He is the prime minister of India and he is mature enough. I will mind my own business. It will be his prerogative. I am nobody. I respect him as prime minister of India," said Sidhu.
Sidhu recalled how he first met Khan at Faridabad in 1983 during a cricket match, and they developed a mutual respect.
"I saw him as a pure soul. I saw him as a selfless man who always worked for the team," said Sidhu.