Imran Khan tweaks guest list, invites Navjot Sidhu, Kapil Dev to oath-taking
Islamabad: In a major turn of events in Pakistan politics, three of India’s greatest cricketers Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and Navjot Singh Sidhu have finally been invited to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony as Prime Minister.
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose party secured 116 general seats in the National Assembly in the July 25 general elections, has made changes to the invitation list but the swearing-in ceremony.
The swearing-in ceremony which was scheduled for August 11 will now be held on August 18.
The PTI’s announcement came after President Mamnoon Hussain summoned a session of the National Assembly on August 13 during which the newly-elected members will take oath. However, no official notification confirming the swearing-in ceremony on August 18 has been issued as yet.
Imran Khan’s party PTI revived the plan to invite the three “cricket legends from India and Kaptaan’s old friends”, just a week after it had called off the invitation to foreign dignitaries and international cricket players.
The 1992 World Cup-winning cricket team has also been invited to witness their captain take oath
“The ceremony will be completely national in its facade and essence,” a statement by PTI last week had said, underlining that Imran Khan had decided to go for a simple and austere ceremony.
Last week’s decision of PTI of calling off the invitation to international cricketers had come as huge embarrassment for cricketer-turned-politician and minister of Punjab Navjot Singh Sidhu who had promptly accepted the yet-to-come invitation.
Siddhu had declared that he would travel to Pakistan for the event, calling Imran Khan “a man of character”, a “Greek God” and someone who is “trustworthy”.
Kapil Dev had responded more cautiously, underlining that he hadn’t received an invite but he will “surely go there” for the ceremony with the government’s approval if the invite did come. Sunil Gavaskar hadn’t commented. Neither had actor Aamir Khan, who figured in the earlier guest list.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf was founded by Imran Khan in the mid-nineties after his career in cricket ended.