Islamabad: After facing flak over his ‘Googly’ comments, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday defended his controversial statements saying, “Linking his remarks to ‘Sikh sentiments’ was misleading.” Responding to criticisms, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister took to micro-blogging site Twitter and said,”Dragging my comment towards ‘Sikh sentiments’ is a deliberate attempt to misrepresent & mislead. What I said was strictly with ref to bilateral interaction with the Indian Government.”

“We have deep respect for Sikh sentiments and no amount of distortions or controversies would change it,” he added. Qureshi also said the Kartarpur Corridor was opened to fulfil the desires of the Sikh community. “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 tweeted further.

Notably, the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s clarification comes a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj lambasted the former saying his comments showed that Pakistan has “no respect for Sikh sentiments”.

“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,” Swaraj had tweeted yesterday. A googly is a leg-spinner’s prize weapon, which is almost undetectable.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to “walk the talk” on peace and take action against the Foreign Minister Qureshi for “politicising religious issue (Kartarpur corridor issue)” and “hurting feelings of Sikhs” by making a “googly” remark.

“I urge Pak PM Imran Khan to take action against his minister for hurting sentiments of Sikhs and peace efforts by equating attendance at function at Sri Kartarpur Sahib with trapping India by bowling a googly. Nothing can be more disgusting than this. Imran Khan ji no one should be allowed to play with religious sentiments. Your commitment to peace should not be a hollow promise. Please walk the talk and take action against Mehmood Qureshi imm. for politicising religious issue to assuage hurt feelings of Sikhs (sic),” Badal said.

On Thursday, while lauding Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said that the former bowled a “googly” to ensure Indian government’s presence at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor event. “Imran delivered a googly and India sent two ministers to Pakistan,” he said, using a cricketing term. A googly is a leg-spinner’s prize weapon, which is almost undetectable. Qureshi noted that it was the same Indian government that had said it will not engage with Pakistan.

He had made these remarks at a ceremony held in Islamabad to observe the 100-day performance of the Imran Khan-led Pakistani government.