Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday said he would forgive those who have criticised him for his decision to visit Pakistan, terming Kartarpur as a "corridor of infinite possibilities". The former cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu was addressing the media after his arrival in Lahore along with a group of Indian journalists to take part in the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in Narowal, some 120 kms from Lahore. He was greeted at the Wagah Border by officials of Pakistan's Punjab province.
Responding to a question regarding criticism of his decision to visit Pakistan, Sidhu said, "I forgive those who criticised me…Religion should not be seen through the eyes of politics.”
#WATCH The hug(with Pakistan Army Chief) was for hardly a second, it was not a #RafaleDeal . When two Punjabis meet they hug each other, its normal practice in Punjab.: Navjot Sidhu in Lahore pic.twitter.com/w43CYie5GI— ANI (@ANI) November 27, 2018
"I have been a fan of Imran Khan since I was a child," Sidhu said as he joked and recited verses in Punjabi.
The four-km-long corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur district with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Narowal in Pakistan. The corridor will provide visa-free access to the Indian Sikh pilgrims to the gurdwara.
I feel that this corridor will be a bridge and erase enmity. It will increase people to people contact and bring peace. It is my belief that there are possibilities in it: Navjot Singh Sidhu in Lahore on #KartarpurCorridor pic.twitter.com/tAzUbDrXP0— ANI (@ANI) November 27, 2018
Prime Minister Imran Khan will perform the groundbreaking of the corridor on Wednesday. Sidhu thanked Khan for making this corridor possible which he said will help promote peace between the two countries.
"There are numerous artistes and cricketers in both the countries whom everyone loves and there need to be cricket matches between India and Pakistan," he said.
"There are many fans of Imran, Wasim Akram and Javed Miandad in India, similarly in Pakistan Shah Rukh and Salman Khan have a huge fan following," Sidhu responded when asked about the restoration of cricketing ties between the two nations criticism of his decision to visit Pakistan," Sidhu said.
On Monday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh used the foundation stone-laying event for Kartarpur Sahib corridor to warn Pakistan to stop terror activities against India and said "we have a large army and we are prepared".
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who laid the foundation stone, called it "beginning of a new chapter" in bilateral ties and said it will act as a "unifier" to build bridges across old chasms.
While Punjab chief minister turned down Pakistan's invitation to participate in the inauguration there on Wednesday, his cabinet colleague Sidhu accepted the invitation.
(With agency inputs)