New Delhi: Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was slammed for hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during Imran Khan's oath-taking ceremony on August 18, has at last broken his silence over the issue.

Saying that his visit to Pakistan was not political, rather was in response to a “warm invitation from a friend", Sidhu hit back at his critics saying that his hug with Pakistan Army chief was an emotional moment.

Also read: Imran Khan is sworn in as Pakistan PM; Navjot Singh Sidhu attends oath ceremony

"Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said they were making efforts to open corridor to Kartarpur Sahib, what followed was emotional moment," the cricketer-turned-minister said.

Sidhu was also criticised for sitting beside Pakistan occupied Kashmir "president" Masood Khan on the front row during the swearing in ceremony.

Also read: Qamar Javed Bajwa, whom Sidhu hugged, has blood on his hands

"My seat was changed at the last minute. I was told just 5 minutes before ceremony that I was to be seated on front row. I sat wherever they made me sit," Mr Sidhu said.

However, BJP is not very much convinced with Sidhu’s reply. Party spokesperson Sambit Patra said Sidhu was talking on the behalf of Rahul Gandhi.

"We want Rahul Gandhi to answer. Instead of explaining why he hugged Bajwa, Sidhu is giving a long lecture. It is unbelievable how someone can hold a press conference in support of Pakistan."

He also said, “Sidhu called for a press conference to say that Pakistan gave him in two days what India could not in so many years. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi what do your leaders get from going to Pakistan?”

Earlier, Patra called Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan a “crime”.

 "It is no less than a crime that a Congress member and cabinet minister in Punjab government went to Pakistan for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan and acted in a certain way,” he said.