Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has rubbished his minister’s ‘googly’ remark, saying the ground-breaking ceremony and the invitation to Indian ministers thereof were a sincere effort towards bringing peace to the two nations.
Imran Khan, while addressing TV anchors at a press briefing, said, “The [ground-breaking] ceremony of Kartarpur was a peace initiative. It was a sincere effort. So was the invitation extended to the Indian ministers. It was not a googly for sure.”
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had jumped in the raging war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress over Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s attendance in the ceremony, saying Imran Khan bowled a “googly” to ensure Indian government’s presence at the groundbreaking ceremony of the landmark Kartarpur Corridor.
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 it stops cross-border terror activities against India.
Qureshi’s remark invited another jibe from Swaraj who said the googly remark “exposed” him and that Pakistan had no respect for Sikh sentiments.
The remark escalated into a row even as Qureshi furnished a clarification. He tweeted “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 government. We have deep respect for Sikh sentiments and no amount of distortions or controversies would change it.”