ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) has categorically dismissed former premier Nawaz Sharif’s recent statement on the 2008 Mumbai attacks and unanimously termed it “incorrect and misleading”.
The NSC, which met under the chair of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday, conducted a detailed review of Nawaz’s statement printed in a newspaper interview on Saturday.
“The participants observed that it was very unfortunate that the opinion arising out of either misconceptions or grievances was being presented in disregard of concrete facts and realities,” said a statement issued by the PM Office.
The NSC meeting also unanimously “rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions”.
It also stated that India denied Pakistani investigators access to Ajmal Kasab, the convicted attacker who was hanged by India.
The statement said that Kasab’s hurried hanging by India impeded the investigation of the case, adding that India repeatedly denied assistance in the probe while there was complete cooperation from Pakistan.
“At the same time, Pakistan continues to wait for cooperation from India on the infamous Kulbhushan Jadhav and Samjhota Express episodes,” it said further.
Pakistan will continue its efforts to eliminate terrorism on all fronts, it concluded.
The top brass of the military, including Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar attended the meeting, held at the PM House.
Moreover, the chiefs of the navy and air force also attended the meeting, as did directors general of military operations and military intelligence.
Defence Minister and acting foreign minister Khurram Dastgir was also a part of the meeting along with other top civil officials of the government.
Nawaz, in a recent interview to Dawn newspaper, 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, even though similar questions and statements have been raised from civilian and security officials in Pakistan earlier.
Following the backlash on international and local media, army spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had said on Twitter that the army had “suggested” that the NSC meeting be called to clarify the country’s stance on the statement.
Nawaz’s statement misinterpreted by media: PML-N
The PML-N issued a clarification on Sunday stating that Nawaz’s remarks were “grossly misinterpreted by 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,” a party spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that Nawaz’s comments about Shehbaz Sharif’s role in the party’s election campaign are also being misinterpreted.
“Mian Shehbaz Sharif is the elected President of PML-N and, in this capacity, he is already at the forefront of the election campaign, taking the PML-N message to every nook and corner of the country,” the statement read.
Shehbaz, in a series of tweets posted later in the day, said the PML-N “rejects all assertions, direct or implied” in the media reports. “We strongly believe that interests of Pakistan [are] supreme to all personal & political interests,” he added.
India used Mumbai attacks to malign Pakistan: Nisar
Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, weighing on the recent wave of discussion on the 2008 Mumbai attacks, remarked earlier today that the incident was used by India to malign Pakistan.
“Pakistan was heavily criticised over the Mumbai attacks,” he shared in a statement while referring to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s remarks on the Mumbai attacks.
“India used the Mumbai attacks for its own despicable plans,” said Nisar, who has swayed away from Nawaz since his ouster last year.
However, Nawaz stood by his statement when he spoke in its favour Monday morning while interacting with journalists at the accountability court hearing corruption cases against him and his family.