India on Thursday described as ‘unfortunate’ Pakistan’s attempt to politicise the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor foundation-stone laying ceremony on its side of the border last week but hoped Islamabad would fulfil expeditiously all the announcements it has made with regard to the corridor.
‘’It is unfortunate that Pakistan has attempted to politicise a religious issue relating to the sentiments of the Sikh community,’’ External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing.
The spokesperson was responding to questions on Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi terming the Kartarpur ceremony as a ‘googly’ from his Prime Minister Imran Khan and the treatment meted out to Union ministers, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri, who represented the Government of India at the ceremony. He said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has already responded to Qureshi’s ‘googly’ remark and he had nothing more to add to it.
The spokesperson agreed that there was a breach of protocol by the Pakistani establishment since the two Indian ministers were not initially supposed to address the gathering at the gurdwara nor were they to be presented ‘saropas’ (dress of honour). It was only when the Indian Government intervened, Badal was allowed to address the assembled guests.
The spokesperson also indicated that the protocol officer attached to the Indian ministers was not allowed to go inside the gurdwara which restricted their functionality.
He said New Delhi considered the decision to build the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as the fulfilment of a long-pending demand of the Sikh community.