Indian media reports reveal that Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has been granted permission by the Narendra Modi-led Indian government to visit Pakistan and attend the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9.
Navjot Singh Sidhu says he will "proceed to Pakistan as millions of Sikh devotees go on eligible visa".https://t.co/yBVveChEfJ
— The Express Tribune (@etribune) November 8, 2019
Sources emanating from New Delhi reveal that the BJP-led government has granted Sidhu the required political clearance to arrive in Pakistan. However, the sources added that he is only allowed to travel as part of the first Jatha (batch) of Sikh pilgrims traveling from India for the pilgrimage to the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara, the final resting place of Sikhism’s founder, Baba Guru Nanak.
Navjot Granted Permission
The first Jatha of the Indian Sikh pilgrims will also include former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and other political dignitaries who will a part of the pilgrimage as religious pilgrims as opposed to political leaders.
The permission for Sidhu’s attendance at the Kartarpur inauguration ceremony arrived after the Indian Congress leader penned down three letters, requesting the Narendra Modi-led government to grant the required political clearance.
In his third letter, Sidhu said that the Ministry of External Affairs has failed to respond to his requests, and clarify whether or not he will be allowed to travel to Pakistan for the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor.
India Today cited Sidhu’s remarks, “The delay and no response is a hindrance to my future course of action. I categorically state that if the government has any inhibitions and says no, then as a law-abiding citizen, I will not go.”
“But if you don’t respond to my third letter, then I will proceed to Pakistan as millions of Sikh devotees go on eligible Visa.”
— MARY… THE IRISH INSAFIAN (@IRISHINSAFIAN) November 7, 2019
Time and again, Navjot Singh Sidhu has faced the wrath of the incumbent Narendra Modi-led government for his ties with Pakistani politicians. During Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony, held in August 2018, Navjot was subjected to political wrath after hugging the Pakistan Chief of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Later, Sidhu claimed that the army chief had divulged the agenda to open the Kartarpur Corridor. On November 4, the incumbent government invited the cricketer-turned-politician to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor.
Indian media reports reveal that billboards applauding Prime Minister Imran Khan were put up in Indian Punjab’s city of Amritsar, praising his role in opening the Kartarpur Corridor. The reports further reveal that these billboards were taken down immediately after they were put up.
The billboards were put up by the Municipal Councilor of Amritsar, Harpal Singh Verkha, praising Imran Khan and Navjot Singh Sidhu for being the “real heroes who made the Kartarpur Corridor a reality”.