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Nawaz defends remarks over Mumbai attack; Pak PM blames Indian media for misrepresenting Sharif's statement
- Team PT
Nawaz defends remarks over Mumbai attack; Pak PM blames Indian media for misrepresenting Sharif's statement



PAKISTAN’S OUSTED PRIME MINISTER Nawaz Sharif on Monday defended his recent remarks about the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, saying he will speak the truth no matter what the consequences are.

Sharif, for the first time, publicly acknowledged in an interview that militant organisations are active in Pakistan and questioned the policy to allow the "non-state actors” to cross the border and "kill” people in Mumbai.

His comments have stirred a controversy in Pakistan, prompting the National Security Committee to call a high-level meeting to reject the statement.

However, according to a Dawn report, Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, during a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, said that Nawaz Sharif's statements about the Mumbai attacks in an interview to Dawn were being misrepresented by Indian media — and people in Pakistan should not become party to the propaganda.

The press conference was held shortly after the conclusion of a National Security Council (NSC) session, which was convened to discuss "recent misleading media statement" regarding the Mumbai attacks.

According to DawnNewsTV, PM Abbasi dispelled the impression that Nawaz had said that the Mumbai attacks had been planned in Pakistan.

The NSC did not condemn Nawaz, but incorrect reporting of the interview, the Pakistan's PM clarified, referring to the earlier jointed statement by the country’s top civil-military body. "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 release issued after the meeting had said. "The participants unanimously rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions."

Abbasi, who was elected the PM after Nawaz Sharif was ousted as the country's premier by the Supreme Court in the Panamagate judgement, reiterated his support for his predecessor. "As the prime minister, I stand with Nawaz Sharif," he said, adding that Nawaz would remain the party's quaid.

The PM asserted that civil-military relations remain the same as before.

Nawaz's interview

In an exclusive interview to Dawn published on Saturday, Nawaz while speaking on matters related to the Pakistan’s foreign policy had stated: "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?" He was referring to the Mumbai attacks-related trial proceedings which have stalled in the Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.

Although Nawaz has stuck to his guns, asking: "What did I say that was wrong in the interview?", his younger brother Shahbaz, who is also the chief minister of Punjab, issued a statement on Sunday, saying that the news report had "incorrectly attributed certain remarks to PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, which do not represent PML-N’s party policy".

Nawaz, in response, had dispelled the notion that the comments were falsely attributed to him, saying that he would speak the truth come what may.

'Incorrect and misleading statement,' says civil-mil officials

Top civil-military officials who took part in the NSC today — which was called on a 'suggestion' by the Army — unanimously termed the statement 'incorrect and misleading'.

"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," a press handout issued after the meeting said.

"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 participants unanimously rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions," the statement added.

'Gross misinterpretation by Indian media'

The PML-N and its leaders have, since Saturday, been scrambling to explain what the statement actually meant, while Nawaz has since read out the excerpts from the interview asking whether he has said anything wrong.

The PML-N claims that Nawaz was "grossly misinterpreted by the Indian media" as a part of malicious propaganda which was unintentionally or intentionally validated by Pakistani media.
 

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