New Delhi: Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu today said that he received a lot of love from Pakistani people and hoped there should be peace between India and Pakistan. Facing flak for hugging Pakistan's Army chief at the swearing-in of Imran Khan as the neighbouring country's prime minister, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu defended his action asking what was he supposed to do if someone says we belong to the same culture and talks of opening the route to the historic Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.
Received lot of love from Pakistani people: Navjot Singh Sidhu
Sidhu, 54, was among the special guests present at the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's oath taking ceremony at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad yesterday. He was seen sitting next to PoK chief Masood Khan and hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
On the issue of his sitting next to the PoK chief in the front row at Imran Khan's oath ceremony, the Congress leader replied, "If you are invited as a guest of honour somewhere, you sit wherever you are asked to. I was sitting somewhere else but they asked me to sit there".
Khan, who captained the national cricket team to World Cup glory in 1992, had invited some of his former teammates and friends to witness his formal accession to the top ministerial job in the country.
Meanwhile, a handful of activists of an outfit named "Pagri Sambaal Jatta" held a protest close to the border when Sidhu arrived from Pakistan.
The activists holding placards against Sidhu also showed black flags to the minister's cavalcade.
Sidhu today arrived in Lahore where he was hosted by Punjab Governor-designate Chaudhry Sarwar.
Before leaving for the Wagah Border, Sidhu visited Taxali Gate near the Lahore Fort and bought some specially-made open shoes.
Before crossing over to India from the Wagah Border, Sidhu said he received a lot of love from the people of Pakistan.
"I am overwhelmed by the love I received here," he said and expressed his wish that there should be peace between the two countries.
To a question about revival of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan, he said: "I am in favour of resuming cricketing ties. It is a good idea if IPL and PSL winners have a clash."