Attempting to do some damage control, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that the Kartarpur corridor's opening was not a 'googly' but a straight-forward decision, contradicting his Foreign Minister's remarks that led to a war of words with his Indian counterpart.
"The Kartarpur corridor opening was not a googly or a double game but a straightforward decision," Khan told Geo news.
He went onto justify for Shah Mahmood Qureshi's 'googly' comment by saying that with the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, Pakistan has made it 'difficult for India to hate the neighbouring county' now.
"I think what Shah Mahmood Qureshi meant by his ‘googly’ statement was that we have made it very hard for India to hate us now, with Kartarpur border opening. Their politicians cannot build anti-Pakistan narratives to win elections now. To say that "India and Pakistan are same nation. There should be no boundaries between us” is inappropriate. We are not same nation. We are Quaid e Azam(Muhammad Ali Jinnah)’s true nation," he said.
Later, raising Kashmir issue, Imran Khan claimed that there can be 'workable solution' to the issue, as it was suggested to him by former Indian Ministers of External Affairs Natwar Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee when General Pervez Mushraff was the President of Pakistan.
"India’s Vajpayi and Natwar Singh once told me they had come really close to resolving Kashmir’s issue back in Gen Musharraf’s era. That means there is definitely a workable solution to Kashmir issue," Khan added,
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Prime Minister Khan bowled a "googly" to ensure Indian government's presence at the groundbreaking ceremony of the landmark Kartarpur Corridor.
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".
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'.
On being asked to comment on the recent war of words between Qureshi and Swaraj, Pakistan Prime Minister said that Islamabad is sincere in establishing peaceful ties with New Delhi.
Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri along with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the opening of Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan on November 28.
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 Kartarpur corridor is expected to be completed within six months.
(With PTI inputs)