Soon after union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan demanding action against his minister for his “googly remark”, the man at the receiving end of criticism said his comment was “distorted” and “misrepresented”.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also cleared that the remark was “strictly with reference to bilateral interaction with the Indian government” in a tweet.
After the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan, which was attended by central ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri, Mr. Qureshi had controversially proposed that “Imran (Khan) delivered a googly and India sent two ministers to Pakistan”.
“The world watched, Pakistan watched, that PM Imran Khan bowled a googly at Kartarpur. As an outcome of the googly, India, that had refused to engage with Pakistan, had to send two ministers to Pakistan,” he had bragged in a misplaced reference to Mr. Khan’s earlier career as a fast bowler in international cricket and canceled conversation between the two countries.
“Nothing can be more worst than this,” Ms. Badal snapped back today.
She accused the Pakistani minister of “hurting sentiments of Sikhs and peace efforts by equating attendance at the function at Sri Kartarpur Sahib with trapping India by bowling a googly”.
Mr. Qureshi’s remark had come after India denied to attend the next SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) meet in Pakistan, citing cross-border terrorism. “Till Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, there will be no dialogue and we will not participate in SAARC,” Ms. Swaraj had said.
She had also stressed that bilateral conversation and Kartarpur corridor are “two different things”. “The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, the dialogue can start. But the dialogue is not only connected with the Kartarpur corridor,” Ms. Swaraj said.
In September, India had agreed to a meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Mr. Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. But following the demising of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani terrorists, and the release of postage stamps “glorifying” terrorist Burhan Wani by the Pakistan government, India canceled the talks.
In the religious ceremony on Wednesday, Imran Khan had said his government and army both want a “civilized relationship” with India. The cricketer-turned-politician added if India will take one step forward, then Pakistan will take two.