*** NSC slams former PM Sharif’s statement on Mumbai attacks, unanimously terms it incorrect and misleading.
*** PM Abbasi tells journalists after the NSC session, ‘Nawaz said his Mumbai attacks statement was misreported’
*** maintained that “civil-military relations remain the same as before” — “this could mean not so good,” said one source on condition of anonymity.
May 14, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — Hours after a National Security Council (NSC) session was held in capital Islamabad Monday to discuss former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement in Dawn newspaper regarding the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi talked with journalists.
A press release issued after the 22nd NSC meeting held at Prime Minister’s House said, “The meeting reviewed the recent statement in the context of Mumbai attacks, as it appeared in the Daily Dawn of 12th May 2018, and unanimously termed this statement as incorrect and misleading,”
The convening of the NSC was announced by the military’s media wing ISPR on Sunday evening.
The meeting which lasted two-and-half hours, was held on the suggestion of Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, said ISPR Director-General Major-General Asif Ghafoor.
Presided over by Prime Minister Abbasi, the NSC meeting was attended by Defense and Foreign Minister Khurram Dastgir, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, National Security Adviser Retired Lt General Nasser Khan Janjua, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayat, the director generals of Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence, and the three services chiefs.
The Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah, was also summoned to the meeting in a special request by the army chief — a rare occurrence, as opposition leader isn’t part of the official NSC panel.
According to Prime Minister Shahid Khakan Abbasi, who spoke with senior journalists after the extraordinary NSC session in the capital, Nawaz reportedly told Abbasi his interview with Dawn was misreported and that he did not say all that was attributed to him.
Abbasi also apprised the journalists of the meeting as well as his follow-up talk with the former Prime Minister and maintained that “civil-military relations remain the same as before” — “this could mean not so good,” said one source on condition of anonymity.
Abbasi said that Nawaz asserted he did not say what was reported in the paper about the Mumbai attacks.
“Militant organizations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?”, Sharif said in an interview to Dawn’s Cyril Almeida which appeared in the paper on Saturday May 12. He was referring to the Mumbai attacks-related trial proceedings which have stalled in the Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable. This is exactly what we are struggling for. President Putin has said it. President Xi has said it,” Sharif was quoted as having said.
Nawaz’s younger brother and PML-N ruling party president Shahbaz Sharif disowned the ‘misleading’ remarks from his elder brother. However, according to Geo News, Nawaz stuck to his stance Monday morning.
Interacting with reporters at the accountability court hearing corruption cases against him in Islamabad, Nawaz said, “I had asked a question. I need an answer”.
The former prime minister deplored that this is the reason the world does not hear Pakistan’s stance and stated that it is important to ask why that is, Geo News reported.
Ironically, Sharif’s remarks dovetail foreign policy stances taken by several countries who are not on the same page with Pakistan on terrorism and the country’s successes with counterterrorism afforts: India, the US and Afghanistan lead the pack — which includes Israel and Bangladesh to name two.
The NSC has taken a unanimous stand on the matter, declaring the Mumbai attacks related statement by former PM incorrect and misleading.
Nawaz’s remarks which first appeared in Dawn on Saturday were picked up by Indian media, which termed the former prime minister’s statement as a confession of Pakistan’s role in the Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.
According to Almedia who interviewed Nawas, the former PM’s words have had shattering effect — incredible to hear in person, addressed directly to me and fully on record — with obvious course of the election woulld change, and maybe much else besides…” Almedia tweeted.
Back home, opposition parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) launched a broadside against Sharif, calling him a security threat.
Even PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the former interior minister, did not endorse Sharif’s statement. He held India responsible for the delay in the trial of the Mumbai attack suspects.
According to the handout from NSC, “it was recalled during the meeting that the delay in conclusion of Mumbai attack case was caused by India, not Pakistan”.
“Besides many other refusals during the investigation, the denial of access to the principal accused, Ajmal Qasab, and his extraordinarily hurried execution became the core impediment in the finalization of the trial.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan continues to await cooperation from India regarding the arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and the Samjhota Express attack, the statement said.
“The National Security Committee resolved that Pakistan shall continue to play its due role in fighting the war against terrorism at all fronts,” it concluded.