New Delhi, December 1: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday launched a scathing rebuttal to her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi for calling the Kartarpur corridor opening a "googly" bowled by the Imran Khan government before India. The remark, Swaraj said, has exposed Islamabad for using a subject of Sikh faith for geopolitical scores.
"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' (sic)," Swaraj said on Twitter.
Swaraj further added that her two Sikh colleagues in the Narendra Modi-led government - Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri - had attended the corridoor's opening due to their religious affiliations. Notably, Badal and Puri hold the portfolios of Food Processing and Urban Planning, respectively -- making their visits technically inconsequential.
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. /2
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) December 1, 2018
The controversy was raked up on Thursday, when Qureshi told a gathering that India was forced to send its two Ministers to Pakistan after being caught in a "googly bowled by Imran (Khan)". A googly is a deceptive cricket delivery which takes the batsman by surprise.
Qureshi further pinned the blame on India for the stalled talks process between the two nations. "Peace with India is our requirement...We want people to people ties which would benefit both the nations," he said, adding that New Delhi, however, has so far not reciprocated the warm gesture extended Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Meanwhile, the Indian government has reiterated over the past 12 months that talks with Pakistan would resume only if Islamabad cracks down on anti-India terror groups operating from their soil. The Kartarpur event, Swaraj had said on Wednesday, should be viewed in isolation with the remaining issues with Pakistan.