Pakistan’s friendship, Jadoo ki Jhappi haunt Sidhu in India

Raza Dotani
Founder & Editor-in-Chief of the Tribal Post, blogger, broadcaster, podcaster and activist belongs to South Waziristan

Indian Punjab’s Minister Navjor Singh Sidhu has been removed from the Kapil Sharma Show, — Other parliamentarians in Punjab assembly wave and set on fire his photos of the “Jadoo ki Jhappi”, ‘a magical hug’ with Pakistan’s COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, — Politicians across the country demands for his removal as cabinet member and Indian media is completely going mad while targeting Sidhu for his peaceful thoughts towards Pakistan.

Navjot Singh Sidhu’s friendship with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan haunts him, NOW more than the days he visited Pakistan during Imran Khan’s oath taking ceremony in August 2018.

Indian media, film industry and politics are on fire against Pakistan being alleged to be involved in the Pulwama deadly attack, killing at least 44 security personnel in the occupied Kashmir on February 14, 2019.

Indian cricket-turned politician and TV star Navjot Singh Sidhu has been facing terrible situation inside and outside the Indian Punjab assembly. Post the Pulwama attack, Sidhu had said, “For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation [Pakistan] and can you blame an individual?”

Te further added, “It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished”.

“[But] I want to ask, who was it who released them [Masood Azhar] in 1999 in Kandahar?” Sidhu went on to ask before saying, “Why should a soldier die? Why can’t we have a permanent solution for this?” said Sidhu.

His comment did not go down well with the netizens and also made #BoycottKapilSharmaShow trend on Twitter since Feb-17.

Now, Kapil Sharma has finally come forward and spoken about the whole incident. He said, ”I think Navjyot Singh Sidhu didn’t take the name of Pakistan in his statement. If sacking Sidhu from the show would have ended terrorism, we would have asked him to leave the show.’’

Condemning the terror attack in Pulwama, Kapil said, ”We should avenge Pulwama attack and hunt down the culprits.’’

India’s retired Major General GD Bakshi also attacked Sidhu for what he deemed an “inappropriate comment” and said Sidhu has not faced what the CRPF has, what men in uniform routinely do in conflict areas.

Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in “Aap ki Adalat Main” TV show, “Sidhu has a lot of followers in India, so when he hugs ‘Dushman’ country’s army chief, it will impact more.”

However, Sidhu posted images of the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi meeting and hugging former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and asked: “Iska impact ayega ki nahi?” — It will also have an impact.

Sidhu has continuously been in an eye of a storm over his comments regarding the Pulwama terror attack. He criticised former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “I want to ask who it was that released them [Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar] in 1999 in Kandahar,” Sidhu asked.

His comment was a reference to 1999 IC 814 hijacking. The then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and his BJP-led government were forced to release three terrorists including Jaish-e-Muhammand’s leader Masood Azhar who were then held in Indian jails. The terrorists were released in order to save the lives of more than 180 passenger and crew who were on board the hijacked plane.

JeM has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.

The Kapil Sharma Show has landed in a soup once again. Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is an integral part of the show, has been fired from the show now.

On sacking Sidhu from the show, Kapil said, ”I am not the producer of the show. This will be handled by the producer.’’

On the other hand, Sidhu told media, “I had to attend Vidhan Sabha’s session due to which I couldn’t go for the shoots of The Kapil Sharma Show and they got somebody else in my replacement for two episodes. I have no intimation about my termination from the channel. If it is regarding my statement, I will stick to what I have been saying yesterday, today and ever tomorrow.”

This is not the first time that Sidhu is under attack in media and politics. Last year in August, he visited Pakistan when Prime Minister Imran Khan invited him in Khan’s oath taking ceremony.

During the ceremony, Pakistan’s COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa hugged Sidhu, which later he named as “Jadoo Ki Jhappi” — a hug of magic. He used the term for promoting peace between India and Pakistan, — that this “Jappi” would work magically.

Nevertheless, Sidhu was in an eye of storm over his “Jadoo ki Jhappi” with Bajwa. In November, in a long-awaited historic move, Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor which connects Narowal’s Gurdwara Darbar Sahib to Dera Baba Nanak situated in India’s Gurdaspur.

This move strengthened Sidhu’s take, that why he is in favour of brotherhood and peaceful relations with Pakistan.

During the Kartarpur ceremony, Sidhu called for an end to bloodshed and restoration of peace between the two countries. “There must be someone to ensure peace. I am thankful to the Indian government and Imran for uniting people again.”

Sidhu has a deeper and sweeter friendship with PM Imran Khan and he is sure that Khan can do tremendous job in abiding peace between both countries. However, his people are not ready to accept his “love” for Pakistan even for Imran Khan.

On the Kartarpur corridor ceremony, Sidhu had thanked the Prime Minister, “Imran’s name will be written in history books whenever there is a mention of Kartarpur.” — And now, this love hounts Sidhu.