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Sidhu hugs Pak Army chief, sits next to PoK head at Imran Khan’s oath ceremony

Instead of seating Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu with other foreign dignitaries, the Pakistan government positioned him next to Masood Khan in the Aiwan-e-Sadr Hall of President’s House at Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2018 17:38 IST
Imran Khan,Imran Khan pakistan PM,Navjot Singh Sidhu
Punjab cabinet minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu at the swearing-in ceremony in Islamabad on Saturday. (Photo: ANI Screengrab)

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was allotted a seat next to the President of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) Masood Khan, during the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan. Khan took oath as Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister.

At the event, instead of seating Congress leader Sidhu with other foreign dignitaries, the Pakistan government positioned him next to Masood Khan in the Aiwan-e-Sadr Hall of President’s House. Earlier, Sidhu and Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa were spotted hugging each other at the President House before the ceremony began.

Before entering the President House, Sidhu said: “People like Khan Sahab (Imran Khan) create history. With this invitation, they have honoured me. People who build relationships are respected, people who break them are disrespected and I am one of those who respect relationships. It’s a new dawn. This government has come to change this country’s perception, picture and destiny, with high hopes and expectations.”

Sidhu, who is also a minister in the Congress-led Punjab government, on Friday said that he sees himself as “a goodwill ambassador of India.” During a press conference on August 2, Sidhu highlighted that the invitation extended to him was in personal capacity.

On Friday, Khan was elected as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, defeating his rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Shehbaz Sharif. While the 65-year-old cricketer-turned-politician bagged 176 seats, Sharif, the PML-N president and the brother of jailed former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif managed to secure just 96 seats.

In the July 25 general elections, the PTI had emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats. The number increased to 158 in the NA after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued notifications of the successful candidates on the reserved seats for women and the minority community on August 11.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 12:42 IST