ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been advised against accelerating confrontation with the establishment, sources said.
In a meeting held at the Punjab House in Islamabad on Wednesday, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz advised the supreme leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to tone down his stance against the establishment.
The move came as Sharif refused to retract his statement on the Mumbai attacks.
According to the sources, PM Abbasi is under immense pressure from the hawks in PML-N to “openly come out” in support of the three-time prime minister after the latter has rejected declaration of National Security Committee (NSC) on his statement regarding the Mumbai attacks.
Reportedly, Sharif expressed his annoyance when PM Abbasi met him to take the former premier into confidence on Monday regarding the press release that was to be issued from the forum of NSC.
“Sharif could not digest the fact that a meeting [NSC] was held under the chair of one of his close confidantes [including PM Abbasi] and that very meeting condemned his statement,” said a source, adding that Abbasi held the press conference to ‘balance the equation’ in a bid to appease an aggrieved Sharif.
In the same presser, the premier denied that NSC condemned Sharif’s statement saying the meeting ‘actually condemned Indian media’s propaganda’ and misreporting in the media.
Sharif’s claim on Mumbai attack
On May 12, Nawaz Sharif during an interview with a local daily 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?”
“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.