Throwing his weight behind embattled former premier Nawaz Sharif after his recent statement on the Mumbai attacks, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the PML-N Quaid was misquoted by Indian media.
Addressing a press conference after holding meetings with the National Security Committee (NSC) and Nawaz, the premier denied Pakistan was responsible for the delay in the Mumbai attacks case trial.
He further said that the NSC did not condemn Nawaz, but the incorrect reporting of the former prime minister's interview. "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," a press statement issued after the meeting had said. "The participants unanimously rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions."
The prime minister revealed that the controversial statement was termed as ‘ridiculous’ in the NSC meeting. During the meeting we made a resolve that Pakistan’s soil will not be allowed to be used for terrorism, he added.
"I am not here to clarify Nawaz's position, the purpose of this presser is to clear the air of confusion," said the prime minister. "No one can dictate to me."
The premier asserted that Nawaz’s statement did not aim to hold Pakistan responsible for the 26/11 attacks. “Indian media manipulated his statement to create an issue. Indian propaganda cannot undermine our achievements."
He elaborated and said media in India took a "line or two" from the interview and misrepresented it out of context. The prime minister also added that the reference made to non-state actors was not made to blame Pakistan.
Throwing his weight behind Nawaz, PM Abbasi also reiterated his support for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid. “Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and I stand behind our Quaid.”
NSC convened after Sharif stirs new row
However, it is reported that the ruling party's leaders are in a state of confusion as Nawaz has said he will stick by his earlier statements.
Earlier in the day, the NSC termed former premier Nawaz Sharif’s comments regarding the 26/11 Mumbai attacks as “incorrect and misleading”, said a statement released by the government.
In a one-point agenda meeting pertaining to the remarks made by Nawaz, representatives of the three branches of the armed forces, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, National Security Adviser (NSA) Nasser Khan Janjuga, Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Naveed Mukhtar and other senior cabinet officials were present. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired the meeting.
“The meeting reviewed the recent statement in the context of Mumbai attacks, as it appeared in the Daily Dawn of 12th May 2018, and unanimously termed this statement as incorrect and misleading,” said the statement.
The high-level huddle further 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”.
Participants of the meeting further rejected the allegations and condemned assertions based on false beliefs.
Nawaz on May 12, during an interview with a local daily, had stated that “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?”
“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 added.
His remarks were immediately picked up by Indian media, which termed the former prime minister’s statement as a confession of Pakistan’s role in the Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.
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