PM to the rescue: NSC in unison over Nawaz claims as ‘incorrect and misleading’

People needn’t be susceptible to ‘Indian propaganda’, says Abbasi

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Siddeeq Sajid/Zafar Malik

Islamabad

The National Security Committee (NSC) Monday unanimously rejected the allegations of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif regarding the Mumbai attacks and termed his statement as ‘incorrect and misleading’. Although Nawaz defended his stance but the incumbent PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the party supremo had never said that Pakistan was behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The meeting, held with Abbasi in the chair at the PM Office, was summoned on the suggestion of military leadership to discuss a one-point agenda of the former premier’s controversial statements regarding the attacks on a Mumbai hotel in 2008.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Director-General (DG) ISI Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt Gen (R) Nasser Khan Janjua and senior civil and military officials.

According to the PM’s spokesperson, 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. The participants observed that it was very unfortunate that the opinions arising out of either misconceptions or grievances were being presented in disregard of concrete facts and realities. The participants unanimously rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions.

The meeting recalled that it was not Pakistan, but India that had delayed the finalisation of the case. Besides many other refusals during the investigation, the denial of access to the principal accused, Ajmal Qasab, and his extraordinarily-hurried execution became the core impediment in the finalisation of the trial. At the same time Pakistan continues to wait for cooperation from India on the infamous Kulbhushan Jadhav and Samjhota Express episodes.

The committee resolved that Pakistan shall continue to play its due role in fighting the war against terrorism at all fronts.

Meanwhile, PM Abbasi met the party de-facto chief after the NSC meeting and took him into confidence on the decisions of the meeting.

The meeting, according to sources, continued on for 15 minutes only and culminated in the incumbent PM addressing a presser later on, maintaining that ‘misinterpretation takes the blame here’ since what Nawaz was stating was misquoted. Abbasi said that the ousted premier had defended Pakistan even while abroad, and what did matter at the time was not to remain susceptible to Indian propaganda. “Nawaz never said that Pakistan was behind the Mumbai attacks neither did he claim that the attackers were actually from Pakistan. This was all misquoted, even his stance on the issue of non-state actors was misinterpreted,” Abbasi said.

Abbasi also denied Pakistan was responsible for the delay in the Mumbai terrorist attacks case trial, saying that the NSC did not condemn Nawaz Sharif, but rather the incorrect reporting of his interview.

The premier made it clear that civil-military relations remained the same as they were prior to the controversial statement.

Taking on the discourse of ‘aliens conducting the polls’, Abbasi, throwing his weight behind the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said that it did not matter whether these ‘invisible forces’ were in the sky or on the land, the party would contest and win the upcoming elections.

The PM also categorically denied that he was tendering his resignation, saying that he would remain in government till the last minute of 31 May, when the interim setup was supposed to take over.

“Nawaz Sharif is still the party’s Quaid. He did not ask me to clarify this matter on air, rather being the incumbent premier, it was my own decision to clear the air before the media,” he said.

Coming down hard on the media-houses which highlighted the statements, Abbasi said that the whole interview was ignored in favour of three lines uttered by Nawaz, which were then further doctored and played according to the whims of the media-houses themselves.

Security sources have further told Daily Morning Mail that military leaders had expressed serious concerns while in the NSC meeting on the controversial statements, saying that the ousted PM gave such irresponsible statements just for his own benefit.

Such statements could damage Pakistan internationally; it was agreed in the meeting.

Sources have further stated that the meeting has demanded Nawaz to withdraw his statement and clarify his position himself. PM Abbasi also has apparently buckled up to talk Nawaz out of the quicksand but the latter has decided to stick to his words.

 

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