Over Navjot Sidhu’s Pakistan Visit, Smriti Irani’s Jibe At Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI: Union minister Smriti Irani on Friday attacked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for his “silence” over cricketer-turned-minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan last month, where he had hugged the nation’s army chief. The attack comes days after Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa had called upon his soldiers to “avenge the blood being shed on the border”.
“Congress chief kept mum on Sidhu sahab’s trip to Pakistan. Now, what will Congress chief say after Sidhu has returned from Pakistan and Pakistan is speaking against India?” Ms Irani said on Friday.

In a jibe at the Congress, Ms Irani said Rahul Gandhi’s silence appeared to be “understandable,” as one of his party leaders had his candidature cancelled during the Gujarat elections.

“On the one side, there is Sidhu who goes and hugs Pakistan Army General, who is speaking against India and on the other hand, it is Mani Shankar Aiyar whose candidature cancellation during Gujarat polls was just an eyewash,” she said.

General Bajwa had, on Friday, directly contradicted Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s diplomatic position by calling for the ‘avenging’ of Pakistan’s troops.

Mr Khan had spoken at the same event, saying that the country would not fight anyone else’s war. He had also said that it his government’s aim was to work for the welfare of the people of Pakistan.

The army chief had also said that Pakistan had learned a lot from the 1965 and 1971 wars and has since developed its defence system.

The Congress was also attacked by BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain on Friday, for ‘praising’ Pakistan.

Mr Hussain was referring to Mr Sidhu, who had on Friday, thanked Pakistan for reportedly allowing Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara located outside the border.

He had said that the Congress should make it clear whether Mr Sidhu’s comments reflected the Congress party’s official stand