Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday contradicted his foreign minister’s remarks over the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, calling the opening a straightforward decision.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Prime Minister Khan bowled a "googly" to ensure Indian government's presence at the ceremony. Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri along with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu attended the event in Pakistan on November 28.
Qureshi's controversial comments drew sharp criticism from India with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj saying his comments "exposed" him and that Pakistan has "no respect for Sikh sentiments".
Attempting to do some damage control, Khan said Islamabad was sincere in establishing peaceful ties with New Delhi. "The Kartarpur corridor opening was not a googly or a double game but a straightforward decision," Khan told Geo news.
On November 26, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in Gurdaspur.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Swaraj said: "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 said.
In cricket, when a leg-spinner delivers an off spin bowl using the leg-spin technique, it is called googly. It is a leg-spinner's prize weapon which is almost undetectable.
The corridor will connect Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev's final resting place in Pakistan's Kartarpur to the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur district in India, fulfilling a long-pending demand of the Sikh community.
The much-awaited corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur — the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev — with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev. The corridor is expected to be completed within six months.