–PML-N chief Shehbaz, party spokesperson attempt at damage control as they distance party from ‘misinterpreted’ statement
–Opposition leaders Imran and Sherry Rehman flay Nawaz for statement damaging country’s image
–Nisar puts in his two cents, says India used 26/11 attacks to malign Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: A day after former premier Nawaz Sharif’s comments on 2008 Mumbai attacks sparked another controversy, meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) has been called after the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) “suggested” Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to discuss “misleading media statement on the Mumbai incident”.
ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor on Sunday tweeted, “NSC meeting suggested to Prime Minister to discuss recent misleading media statement regarding Bombay incident. Being held tomorrow morning.”
NSC meeting suggested to Prime Minister to discuss recent misleading media statement regarding Bombay incident. Being held tomorrow morning.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) May 13, 2018
Nawaz, in a recent interview to a leading English Daily, had said, “Militant organisations 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?”
His remarks were played up by the Indian media as an admission of Pakistan’s involvement in the terrorist attacks.
A source told Pakistan Today that the NSC meeting would take up the statement made by Nawaz Sharif holistically and the input from the security agencies and the civilian government would be shared during the meeting.
He said that the meeting would also review the context of the statement while it would also be reviewed that what could be apparent objectives of making such a reckless statement at a time when the country is facing major challenges, both internally and at the international arena.
The source said that the meeting would also review the possible damage-control measures available to scuttle the Indian media propaganda aimed at maligning Pakistan. He added that the meeting will discuss the official stance to be taken by the government to contain the fallout of ill-conceived statement made by Nawaz.
The scheduled moot will not only inquire the correct interpretation of Nawaz Sharif’s controversial remark regarding Pakistan’s ‘role’ in Mumbai attacks, but will also discuss whether the report was “misinterpreted or misreported”. The well-placed sources told Pakistan Today that the senior officials in the meeting would ask why Nawaz gave such an exclusive interview to Dawn’s Cyril Almeida.
It would be inquired why Cyril was given any special protocol at the Multan airport. The civil and military officials will exchange views regarding why the ruling party didn’t issue any clarification of Nawaz’s statement till the army suggested to hold NSC meeting, the sources told Pakistan Today.
It was stated that unlike Dawn Leaks, this news story is on record and documented in which case the PML-N will be asked to present a clear stance regarding the issue which has far-reaching implications on the national security.
The sources added that NSC meeting will question the response of Maryam Nawaz as well as other sections of the ruling party which ‘reinforced’ the Dawn interview and Indian propaganda.
NAWAZ’S STATEMENT TWISTED OUT OF CONTEXT:
As the controversy gets severe, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif tried to downplay Nawaz’s statement, saying that former premier’s interview was twisted out of context by his political opponents.
PMLN rejects all assertions, direct or implied, made in news report of DAWN,dated 12-5-18. State of Pakistan & all its institutions stand together in the global fight against terrorism. We strongly believe that interests of Pakistan r supreme to all personal & political interests
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) May 13, 2018
Separately, on his Twitter handle, he stated, “The PML-N rejects all assertions, direct or implied, made in news report of DAWN, dated 12-5-18. State of Pakistan & all its institutions stand together in the global fight against terrorism. We strongly believe that interests of Pakistan r supreme to all personal & political interests.”
There can and shall never be any compromise on any national interest. The report has incorrectly attributed certain remarks to PMLN Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, which do not represent PMLN’s party policy. https://t.co/jbzBvKa72B
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) May 13, 2018
“There can and shall never be any compromise on any national interest. The report has incorrectly attributed certain remarks to PML-N Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, which do not represent PML-N’s party policy.”
Furthermore, the PML-N spokesman also issued a statement saying that the remarks of the party Quaid had been grossly misinterpreted by the Indian media. Unfortunately, he said, a section of Pakistani electronic and social media has intentionally or unintentionally not only validated but lent credence to the malicious propaganda of Indian media without going through the full facts of the statement.
The spokesman said the PML-N as the country’s premier popular national political party and its Quaid needs no certificate from anybody on their commitment and capacity to preserve, protect and promote Pakistan’s national security.
OPPOSITION FLAYS NAWAZ:
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan slammed the former prime minister for his statement and called him “Mir Jafar of the modern era”.
Taking to Twitter, the PTI chief said: “Nawaz Sharif is the modern-day Mir Jafar, who collaborated with the British to enslave his nation for personal gains. Nawaz speaking Modi’s language against Pak State simply to protect his ill-gotten Rs 300b stashed in his sons’ companies abroad.”
He further said that today Nawaz Sharif stands exposed before the nation. To try and protect his wrongdoings he is not only willing to destroy all Pakistan state institutions, including the army, NAB, SC, but also the future of our country, he added.
Imran raised the question that why Nawaz Sharif when he was in power for last four years and his “puppet still holds the power” did not speak out and take action on this issue.
Similarly, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman also slammed Nawaz Sharif and said that her party has strongly rejected his stance on the issue.
Addressing a press conference, she said that the former prime minister’s statement compromised Pakistan’s narrative in the war against terrorism and demanded that he retract his remarks.
‘MUMBAI ATTACKS USED TO MALIGN PAKISTAN’:
Furthermore, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar on Sunday stated that the 2008 Mumbai attacks were used by India to malign Pakistan.
He said that Islamabad was heavily criticised over the Mumbai attacks and he was aware of all the aspects of the case as he has served as country’s interior minister. “Moreover, the probe was being conducted by Federal Investigation Agency which comes under the Ministry of Interior.”
He termed the lack of cooperation by India as the biggest hurdle in probing the incident as India wasn’t interested in a transparent investigation. Furthermore, Nisar claimed that India refused to share proofs from the incident that were present at the site.
“We kept on requesting India to cooperate in the case. We have always cooperated with India over information sharing pertaining to all incidents of terrorism,” Nisar added.
With regards to Ajmal Kasab, who India claims to be the sole attacker of the incident to be captured alive, Nisar said he was the sole eyewitness of the attacks. According to him, there was no bigger evidence of the Indian government’s lack of interest in taking the case to its end than its refusal to allow FIA to question the only living proof of the attacks: Ajmal Kasab.
The former interior minister stated that the Pakistani investigation team was not allowed to interrogate Ajmal. Moreover, the removal of Ajmal was done so that the facts were never brought before the world.
“In a country where cases concerning capital punishment face years of delays, the only proof in a very important case was sent to the gallows in extreme haste to take him away from the public eye and close the door before facts became public.”
Kasab was hanged in such haste, Nisar said, so that the Mumbai attacks could be used as a tool for “Pakistan bashing” across the world on political basis.
All of Pakistan’s requests, letters, and announcements regarding Mumbai attacks have been recorded, the former interior minister said. “The records are safe with FIA,” he added.
Defence analyst Lt Gen (r) Amjad Shoaib told Pakistan Today that the world would have exonerated Pakistan from the Indian allegations on Mumbai attacks, but the successive statements made by the three-time prime minister have reinforced the baseless Indian propaganda to malign Pakistan.
The veteran military officer said that at least two books exclusively written by independent experts have proved beyond doubt that the Mumbai attacks were a false flag operation jointly conducted by intelligence officials of India and other countries.
Referring to a book authored by celebrated German investigative author Elias Davidson, Lt Gen (r) Amjad said that the author had conducted five-year-long investigations into the Mumbai attacks after which he had written the book. He added that former Maharashtra Police IG SM Mushrif had stated in his book “Who Killed Karkare” that Ajmal Kasab had been arrested by Indian police from Kathmandu, Nepal in 2006 and the accused was in police custody when Mumbai attacks took place.
He said that the investigation into the Dawn leaks should have been taken to its logical conclusion and all suspects should have been investigated.
Meanwhile, eminent diplomat Abdul Basit also expressed dismay over the statement made by Nawaz Sharif, saying that if the country’s politicians would speak the language of the enemy, then “only God can save Pakistan”, adding that the Indians would be happy over former premier’s statement.