Googly remark ‘misrepresented’, comment with reference to talks with India: Pak FM

Googly remark ‘misrepresented’, comment with reference to talks with India: Pak FM

Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (Photo: AFP)

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday claimed that his “googly remark” was strictly with reference to bilateral interaction with the Indian Government, adding that dragging his comment towards “Sikh sentiments” was a deliberate attempt to misrepresent and mislead the people.

“Dragging my comment towards “Sikh sentiments” is a deliberate attempt to misrepresent & mislead. What I said was strictly with ref to bilat.interaction with the Indian Govt. We have deep respect for Sikh sentiments & no amount of distortions or controversies would change it,” he tweeted.

“In deference to the long-standing desires of our Sikh brethren, we decided to open the Kartarpur Corridor. We have taken this historic initiative in good faith and will carry it forward in good faith,” he added.

Read | Sushma Swaraj slams Pak foreign minister on ‘googly’ remark, says it ‘exposed’ him

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had on Saturday slammed her Pakistani counterpart for his “googly” remark and said that his comments “exposed” him and that Pakistan has no respect for Sikh sentiments.

“Mr.Foreign Minister of Pakistan – Your ‘googly’ remarks in a dramatic manner has exposed none but YOU. This shows that you have no respect for Sikh sentiments. You only play ‘googlies’,” Swaraj tweeted.

“Let me explain to you that we were not trapped by your ‘googlies’. Our two Sikh Ministers went to Kartarpur Sahib to offer prayers in the Holy Gurudwara”, she added.

Qureshi on November 29 said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan bowled a “googly” to ensure Indian government’s presence at the groundbreaking ceremony of the landmark Kartarpur Corridor.

Read | Imran Khan bowled a ‘googly’ to ensure India’s presence at Kartarpur Corridor event: Pak minister

Earlier on November 28, Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur Corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan – the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev – to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims.

Qureshi’s remarks came a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj categorically ruled out the possibility of resumption of bilateral talks with Pakistan unless Islamabad stops cross-border terror activities against India.

Pakistan earlier invited Swaraj for Wednesday’s ceremony. Swaraj had, however, declined the invite stating that she was unable to travel to Kartarpur Sahib due to prior commitments, including an election campaign in Telangana, and that India will be represented at the ceremony by Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri.

She had also announced that India will not attend the proposed Saarc Summit in Pakistan and there will be no dialogue with Islamabad until it stops sponsoring terrorism. Swaraj made it clear that New Delhi will not participate in the summit and it was not responding to an invite from Pakistan for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the gathering of South Asian leaders.

Reacting to Qureshi’s “googly” remark, union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Sunday asked Pakistan PM to initiate action against the minister.

Badal accused the Pakistani minister of “hurting the sentiments of the Sikhs and peace efforts by equating attendance at the function at Sri Kartarpur Sahib with trapping India by bowling a googly”.

“Nothing can be more disgusting than this,” she tweeted.

Addressing Imran Khan, she urged the PM to walk the talk of maintaining peace and take action against Qureshi for politicising a religious issue.

“As a devout Sikh, I feel anyone having deep respect for Sikhism wud not politicise holy initiative of #KartarpurCorridor by calling it ‘googly’ or as a good ‘chaal’ as termed by u & ur prez. Sikhs are not pawns in chess. Pls, don’t play with our faith,” she tweeted.