Months after his infamous hug with Pak Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu again made a show of his exchange of greetings with the Pak COAS, at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.
After the pair posed side-by-side for photos ahead of the ceremony, Sidhu went back to shake Bajwa's hand and exchange a word, even though they had clearly already met.
Earlier, as the first visuals from Kartarpur had come in, Pakistan's terror-friendly trio comprising Prime Minister Imran Khan, COAS General Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi were posing for photos shoulder-to-shoulder, at which point Sidhu appeared to jostle his way forward and appear right behind them. At the ceremony, Sidhu was given place-of-prime, sitting right next to Imran Khan and Qureshi, while Indian government minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal was seated next to the Pak Punjab Chief Minister, two seats further away.
When the programme began, Sidhu's remarks from his previous trip, for Imran Khan's inauguration, were played on the projector for which he thanked Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
At this point, he was asked to come on stage and deliver a speech.
Sidhu's controversial visit, in his personal capacity, comes amid criticism from his own Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh who had declined Pakistan's invite to the ceremony and had blasted the Pak Army chief for the terrorism being perpetrated on India from Pakistani soil. Speaking to Republic TV on Tuesday, the Punjab CM had said that he only allowed Sidhu to travel to Pakistan as Sidhu insisted he was doing so in his personal capacity, and had reprimanded him for hugging the Pak Army chief by telling him that he had no business doing so.
On Wednesday, even as in Kashmir Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Naveed Jatt, believed to be behind the assassination of Rising Kashmir Editor-in-Chief Shujaat Bukhari, was neutralised, India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made clear that till Pakistan didn't stop terrorism, there would be no bilateral talks between the two countries. When asked about Navjot Singh Sidhu again visiting Pakistan, Sushma Swaraj put the onus on the Congress party to answer for the cricketer-turned-politician's actions.