Sidhu confirms visit to Pakistan for Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony



New Delhi, Aug. 2 (TNS): Former Indian opening batsman Navjot Singh Sidhu has accepted invitation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan for his oath-taking ceremony as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Indian media reported on Thursday.

Sunil Gawaskar says he will participate in the ceremony if Indian government allows him to do so while Bollywood superstar Amir Khan said he did not receive formal invitation so far.

Khan’s party emerged as the single largest in the National Assembly in the 2018 General Elections held on July 25 and is expected to be sworn in as the next Premier on August 11.

Sidhu, who represented India in 51 Tests and 136 ODIs where he scored more than 7,000 runs with the help of 15 centuries and 48 fifties, is currently a cabinet minister in the state of Punjab.

As per NDTV, Sidhu said he is honoured after being invited by Khan for the ceremony.

“It is a great honour, I accept the invitation. Men of genius are admired, men of power are feared, but men of character are trusted. Khan Sahab is a man of character. He can be trusted. Sportsmen build bridges, break barriers and unite people.”

Khan is primarily famous for his role as the captain of the 1992 World Cup winning Pakistan cricket team, which was country’s first major trophy in the sport.

Earlier former Indian cricketers were invited by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) to participate in Imran Khan’s oath taking ceremony as prime minister, according to PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry.

Chaudhry said the party has invited former Indian cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Navjot Singh Sidhu to the ceremony. The party’s spokesperson also claimed to have invited Indian actors including Amir Khan. Chaudhry said the party had approached the Foreign Office regarding inviting foreign dignitaries.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Khan on Monday to congratulate him, according to a statement issued by the party’s media cell.  According to the statement, the most significant aspect of the conversation was Modi’s unambiguous willingness to improve his country’s ties with Pakistan.

“India desires progressive relations with Pakistan”, the Indian PM was quoted as saying.