South Asia

Kartarpur ‘Googly’: Pakistan 'Exposed', Claims Swaraj; Misrepresented, Counters Qureshi

Swaraj’s assertion about Pakistan not being mindful of Sikh sentiments, Qureshi said, was a deliberate misrepresentation of his words.

New Delhi: After Indian External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj claimed that Pakistan’s intentions over Kartarpur project had been “exposed”, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi claimed on Sunday that his “googly” comment had been “deliberately” misrepresented.

During an event to mark the Khan government’s first 100 days on November 29, Qureshi said it had “bowled a googly at India by opening the Kartarpur border corridor”.

Two days later, Swaraj directly addressed Qureshi on his ‘googly’ statement through her twitter account.

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“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’,” she posted in the first of two tweets on Saturday (December 1) night.

Swaraj was referring to Pakistan repeatedly stating that the demands of Sikh community to open the border for pilgrimage to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib had been the main reason for Islamabad agreeing to the Kartarpur project corridor.

She asserted that India was not “trapped” and that the two ministers only went to Kartarpur Sahib to “offer prayers”.

The response from the other side came on Sunday afternoon.

Qureshi replied through his Twitter account that his comments were about talks with India. Swaraj’s assertion about Pakistan not being mindful of Sikh sentiments, Qureshi posted, was a deliberate misrepresentation of his words.

The Pakistani foreign minister had invited Swaraj to the ground-breaking ceremony, but the latter had declined it due to “prior commitments”. India sent minister for food processing, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and minister of state for urban development, Hardeep Singh Puri as representatives of government of India.

Earlier during an interaction with Indian journalists in Islamabad, Qureshi had said that it was “not a googly”.

When asked whether he was disappointed by Swaraj’s response that Kartarpur didn’t herald talks, Qureshi responded in the negative. “No, I am not, because my expectation wasn’t too high”.

The Pakistan foreign office had issued a statement on Saturday that it was “dismayed at the relentless negative propaganda campaign being waged by a section of the Indian media against Pakistan on the “Kartarpur Corridor” Initiative”.

“We categorically reaffirm that the initiative to open this Corridor has been taken by the Government of Pakistan solely in deference to the longstanding wishes of our Sikh brethren, and especially in the wake of the forthcoming 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev ji. Attributing any other motives is purely malicious,” the statement said.