Qureshi says Indian FM ‘misrepresented’ remarks | Pakistan Today

Qureshi says Indian FM ‘misrepresented’ remarks

–FM says he commented on bilateral ties, asserts no controversy can change Pakistan’s respect for Sikh sentiments

–Indian FM Sushma criticises ‘googly’ remark, calls it disrespectful to Sikhs

India and Pakistan locked horns on Sunday once again after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi accused his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj of “misrepresenting” his ‘googly’ comments by dragging Sikh community in the issue.

Qureshi was referring to tweets made by Sushma Swaraj in response to his ‘googly comments’ during a ceremony to mark the 100-day performance of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. At the time, the FM had likened opening of Kartarpur border and subsequent arrival of Indian ministers to a ‘googly’ that had compelled India to send its minister to attend the ceremony.

Taking exception to Qureshi’s comment, Indian foreign minister took to Twitter on Saturday night and 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’.”

Taking a jibe at FM Qureshi, she said, “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.”

The tweet, however, did not go down well with Qureshi, who said that the Indian FM “misrepresented” his tweet and linked them to Sikh community in an attempt to malign Pakistan. “What I said was strictly with reference to bilateral interaction with the Indian government. We have deep respect for Sikh sentiments & no amount of distortions or controversies would change it,” he responded on microblogging social media site.

He also defended the opening of Kartarpur border, saying Pakistan had taken the decision in “good faith”.

“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 said in a tweet.

The corridor was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan last week in a ceremony attended by an Indian delegation, ambassadors of several countries as well as local and Indian Sikh pilgrims.

Initially, the Pakistan government had invited Swaraj, Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu besides 17 Indian journalists to the Kartarpur groundbreaking ceremony.

Although Swaraj and Amarinder Singh excused themselves from attending the ceremony, the Indian foreign minister nominated India’s Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri to attend the event. The two ministers, along with Sidhu, visited Pakistan to attend the ceremony marking the groundbreaking of Kartarpur border crossing.

Opening of Kartarpur corridor apparently didn’t go down well with India media, which launched a “propaganda” campaign against the initiative.

“We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the Sikh community — not only in India and Pakistan but also from across the globe,” the Foreign Office had issued a statement in response to the propaganda campaign.

Moreover, Indian chief had also thought to give his two cents on bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan. “Pakistan has made its state an Islamic state. If they have to stay together with India, then they have to develop as a secular state,” Indian army chief Bipin Rawat had said in an absurd statement.

However, FM Qureshi termed the statement meaningless and that Pakistan would not change the its ideology.

KARTARPUR CORRIDOR:

The corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab’s Gurdaspur to Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Narowal district where the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib — the shrine of revered saint Baba Guru Nanak — is situated.

India accepted the proposal months after army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had initially offered to open the route to facilitate Sikh pilgrims. The COAS told Indian cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu at the inauguration of Prime Minister Imran on August 18 that Pakistan was ready to open the route to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

Kartarpur is a small town in district Narowal, 4 km from the Pakistan-India border, where the founder of the Sikh religion, Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life. Subsequently, Gurdwara Darbar Sahab was built at the site on the Pakistan side and Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak in India, which are visited by thousands of Sikhs every year.



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