Former Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Tasneem Aslam has that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had barred the FO from commenting against Indian atrocities in held Kashmir and its spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Jadav, a serving Indian army official, is presently in Pakistan’s custody.
“Nawaz Sharif did not want to say anything against India and Jadhav through the Foreign Office,” she said during an interview with a YouTube channel of journalist Essa Naqvi. When asked if Sharif’s instruction benefited the country, she said, “It did not benefit the country but I do not know whether it benefited his [Nawaz’s] own interests or not.”
Tasneem worked as FO spokesperson twice — first from 2005 to 2007 during the regime of President Pervez Musharraf and then during the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government between 2013 and 2017.
She said that Nawaz had business interests in India and he did not meet leaders of Indian Occupied Kashmir’s (IOK) political party Hurriyat Conferences when he visited India as the prime minister. “Usually, every prime minister of Pakistan meets Hurriyat leaders but Nawaz Sharif did not meet them when he visited India,” she added.
Nawaz had visited India in 2014 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of its Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi.
Tasneem said even in his speech at the United Nations (UN) summit Sharif did not talk about India and Jadhav but on the Kashmir issue.
When asked, PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said the comments by a retired FO official “bore no resemblance to reality”.
“It is a false and biased expression of an individual’s views, based on her personal predilections,” she said.
Recalling efforts made by Sharif to resolve the Kashmir dispute, Marriyum said, “The principled manner in which he dealt with the issue of Pakistan’s relations with its eastern neighbor is well documented.”
She said the former prime minister’s address to the UN General Assembly in 2016 contained the “most forceful references” ever to the issue of Kashmir and the “most powerful condemnation of the atrocities and brutalities of the Indian occupation forces [in the held valley]”.