Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was criticised after a prominent pro-Khalistan separatist leader shared a photograph taken with the minister on social media.
Attari: Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu played down Thursday his appearance in a photograph with “pro-Khalistan leader” Gopal Singh Chawla during his visit to Pakistan for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.
“They showered love so much there. Every day ten thousands pictures were clicked. Among them who is Chawla or Cheema that I do not know,” Sidhu said after returning from the neighbouring nation.
Sidhu was strongly criticised by the opposition parties for the photograph. The Shiromani Akali Dal Thursday asked the Punjab cabinet minister whether “India is his priority or not”.
The cabinet minister came under attack after Gopal Singh Chawla, the general secretary of Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (PSGPC), shared a photograph of him with Sidhu on his Facebook page.
Chawla, a prominently known pro-Khalistan voice, was also seen shaking hands with Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the ground-breaking ceremony of Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan on Wednesday.
“There was a link between Gopal Chawla and a terrorist attack that took place in Amritsar (on Nirankari Bhavan), which is his (Sidhu’s) constituency. If he shakes hands with him or do something with him, then Sidhu has to answer in order to clear whether country is his priority or something else,” SAD president Sukhbir Badal had said.
Three persons were killed while over 20 were injured in a grenade attack on Nirankari Bhavan in Amritsar on November 18.
Badal said Sidhu should have known that Pakistan has been involved in pushing drugs into Punjab. “It is Gen Bajwa who is behind killing our youth with whom he hakes hands.”
Taking a swipe at the Congress president, Badal said Rahul Gandhi has a “very good opportunity” to expand his party to Pakistan by making Sidhu the chief of the party’s unit there.
Meanwhile, former chief of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Paramjit Singh Sarna claimed that Sidhu avoided Chawla many times. “But he (Chawla) managed to get a picture clicked with him,” said Sarna at Attari in Amritsar.
Sidhu, Longowal and Sarna had attended the ground-breaking ceremony in Pakistan. -PTI
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