Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is facing criticism from all quarters following his admission on the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, has claimed his remarks were “grossly misinterpreted” by the media.
In a rare admission from a top Pakistani leader, Sharif, in an interview to Dawn, said that militant organisations were active in the country and questioned Islamabad’s policy to allow “non-state actors” to cross the border and “kill” people in Mumbai. 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.”
However, a spokesman for Sharif, in a statement said, “At the outset, statement of Nawaz Sharif has been grossly misinterpreted by the Indian media. Unfortunately, a section of Pakistani electronic and social media has intentionally or unintentionally not only validated but has lent credence to the malicious propaganda of Indian media without going through the full facts of the statement”.
“The PML-N would like to set the record straight on the interview of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif carried yesterday by Dawn,” Sharif’s spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army will today hold a high-level meeting to discuss the “recent misleading media statement” about Mumbai terror attack made by the ousted prime minister. Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Twitter that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was suggested to call a meeting of the high-powered National Security Committee (NSC), a platform of top civil and military leadership to discuss key national issues. “The NSC meeting suggested to Prime Minister to discuss recent misleading media statement regarding Bombay incident. Being held tomorrow morning,” said Ghafoor.
Following his admission, Sharif is under attack from opponents as well as some of the estranged leaders from his Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz (PML-N) party for allegedly supporting the Indian narrative on the Mumbai attack case and harming national interests.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairperson Imran Khan on Sunday called the PML-N member “a modern-day Mir Jafar” and assailed him for speaking “PM Narendra Modi’s language” to protect his wealth allegedly stashed in his son’s offshore companies.
“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 Pakistan state simply to protect his ill-gotten Rs 300 billion stashed in his sons companies abroad,” Khan tweeted.
Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz Sharif also said that media misrepresented views of the former prime minister. “Can anybody think that Nawaz Sharif will say such things,” he said.
Ten Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists had sailed to Mumbai from Karachi and carried out coordinated attacks, killing 166 people and injuring over 300 in November 2008. Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafeez Saeed is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The outfit was declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
The case has entered into the 10th year but none of its suspects in Pakistan has been punished yet, showing that the case had never been in the priority list of the country that appears to be keen to put it under the carpet.
(With PTI inputs)