Under fire from India over ‘googly’ remark, Pak minister says linking it to Sikh sentiments misleadinghttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/harsimrat-badal-imran-khan-mahmood-qureshi-googly-remark-kartarpur-corridor-5475077/

Under fire from India over ‘googly’ remark, Pak minister says linking it to Sikh sentiments misleading

Badal's stinging remarks come days after Qureshi said Prime Minister Khan bowled a “googly” to ensure the Indian government’s presence at the groundbreaking ceremony of the landmark Kartarpur Corridor.

Qureshi said linking his remarks to “Sikh sentiments” was misleading. (File)

Calling Pakistan Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi’s “googly” remark disgusting, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Sunday asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to take action against him for hurting sentiments of Sikhs. However, later in the day, Qureshi said linking his remarks to “Sikh sentiments” was misleading.

“I urge Pak PM Imran Khan to take action against his minister for hurting sentiments of 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,” Badal said in a series of tweets.

Badal’s stinging remarks come days after Qureshi said Prime Minister Khan bowled a “googly” to ensure the Indian government’s presence at the groundbreaking ceremony of the landmark Kartarpur corridor. “Imran delivered a googly and India sent two ministers to Pakistan,” he said.

It came a day after Swaraj ruled out the possibility of resumption of bilateral talks with Pakistan unless it stopped cross-border terror activities.

Badal also reminded Khan of his promise of commitment to peace and said no one should be allowed to play with religious sentiments. “Your (Imran Khan) commitment to peace shouldn’t be a hollow promise. Please walk the talk and take action against Mehmood Qureshi immediately for politicising religious issue to assuage hurt feelings of Sikhs,” the SAD leader said.

On Saturday, Swaraj too took exception to Qureshi’s comments, saying it “exposed” that Pakistan had 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’. 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 tweeted.

Later in the day, Qureshi said Pakistan respected Sikh sentiments and his comments were in reference to bilateral interaction. “Dragging my comment towards ‘Sikh sentiments’ is a deliberate attempt to misrepresent and mislead. What I said was strictly with reference to bilateral interaction with the Indian Govt,” he tweeted.

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“We have deep respect for Sikh sentiments and no amount of distortions or controversies would change it,” he said. Qureshi also said the Kartarpur Corridor was opened to fulfil the desires of the Sikh community.

“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 tweeted.

Khan on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur Corridor, linking two revered gurdwaras on both sides of the border in Kartarpur in Punjab province. Badal and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, along with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, attended the event in Pakistan Punjab province’s Narowal area.