Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that militant organisations are active in the country and questioned Islamabad’s policy to allow the “non-state actors” to cross the border and “kill” people in Mumbai. This is a rare admission from a top Pakistan political leader, almost 10 years after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008. His party is still in the ruling establishment, whose term expires in May-end.
Sharif, who has been disqualified from holding public office for life by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case, said Pakistan has isolated itself. “We have isolated ourselves. Despite giving sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it,” he said in an interview to Pakistan’s leading newspaper, Dawn.
Without naming Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar’s militant organisations — Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Jaish-e-Mohammad — operating in the country with impunity, Sharif said: “Militant organisations are active in Pakistan… Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill over 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial.”
The Mumbai attacks-related trials are stalled in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court. “It’s absolutely unacceptable (to allow non-state actors to cross the border and commit terrorism there). President (Vladimir) Putin has said it. President Xi (Jinping) has said it,” he said.
Citing the military and judiciary establishment, Sharif said: “You can’t run a country if you have two or three parallel governments. This has to stop. There can only be one government — the constitutional one.” Sharif, known for his pro-India views, is perceived by Pakistan’s Army as a politician who has challenged their authority.
In the last few years, Sharif tried to improve bilateral ties with India, but terrorist attacks in Pathankot — a week after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lahore — scuttled the dialogue process. This was followed by Kulbhushan Jadhav’s sentencing, and Uri attacks, thereby derailing the dialogue process.