New Delhi: Hours after Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa vowed to avenge the blood of the country’s soldiers being shed on the border, Union Minister Smriti Irani attacked Rahul Gandhi over Navjot Singh Sidhu’s attendance at Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony and his hug to Bajwa.

“Congress chief kept mum on Sidhu sahab’s trip to Pakistan. Now what will Congress Chief say after Sidhu has returned from Pakistan and Pakistan is speaking against India,” Smriti Irani said, adding, “His silence is understandable, as on one side there is Sidhu goes and hugs Bajwa who is speaking against India and on other hand, it is Mani Shankar Aiyar whose candidature cancellation during Gujarat polls was just an eyewash.”

While addressing the Defence Day ceremony in Rawalpindi to mark the 53rd anniversary of the 1965 war with India, Army Chief said, “We will avenge the blood flowing on the border.” The remarks were made in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan who had earlier said that the country favoured good relations with India and wanted to resolve disputes, including Kashmir, sitting across the table.

“Our armed forces and the entire nation have learned much during their service to Pakistan. Fear and terrorism were thrust upon us. Our homes, schools, places of worship, recreational sites and national institutions were attacked,” General Bajwa said. “We have sacrificed a lot but our job is not done…war is still ongoing…We have to make Pakistan reach a level where no one can look at us with an evil intent.”

Navjot Singh Sidhu and the Congress party came under sharp attack after he attended the oath-taking ceremony of former cricketer Imran Khan and hugged Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa prior to the ceremony. The BJP party attacked the Congress leader saying that his visit to Pakistan was no less than a crime.