ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that former premier Nawaz Sharif clarified that his recent statement regarding the Mumbai attacks was misinterpreted and misreported by the media.
According to Abbasi, who spoke with senior journalists after the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting, Nawaz said that his interview with Dawn Newspaper was misreported and he did not say all that was attributed to him.
Abbasi also apprised the journalists of the NSC meeting as well as his follow-up meeting with Nawaz today.
The prime minister said Nawaz asserted that he did not say what was reported about the Mumbai attacks.
With regards to the NSC meeting which condemned Nawaz’s statement, Abbasi clarified that the top civil-military huddle dismissed those words which were misreported.
In response to a question on civil-military issues in the country, Abbasi said misunderstandings occur but are removed when facts are brought to the fore.
Assuring that no one is pulling his strings, the premier said it was his own decision to give the explanatory statement.
Expressing support for Nawaz, Abbasi said the entire party, including Shehbaz Sharif, stands with the PML-N supremo. “Nawaz Sharif is still our Quaid,” he reassured.
“A few sentences [from the newspaper interview] were blown out of proportion and context. I have clarified those,” he asserted.
Answering a question, Abbasi said he will not resign nor is there any pressure on him to do so, adding that the government will complete its tenure at the end of this month after which he’ll leave office.
NSC condemns statement
The NSC meeting, which was attended by the top civil and military leadership, categorically dismissed Nawaz’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 earlier today, said in its statement that “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.”
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.
Following the NSC meeting, Abbasi called on Nawaz and discussed the high-level meeting with him.
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.
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.
Despite criticism from various political quarters and the disowning of the ‘misleading’ remarks from his own brother and party president Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz stuck to his stance Monday morning.
Interacting with reporters at the accountability court hearing corruption cases against him, he said, “I had asked a question. I need an answer”.
The three-time prime minister deplored that this is the reason the world does not hear Pakistan’s stance and stated that it is important to ask why that is.