Sharif's statement 'incorrect': Pakistan civil-military brass

Henrietta Strickland
May 15, 2018

Sharif's daughter and party spokesperson, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, later clarified, "PML-N would like to set the record straight on the interview of PML-N Quaid carried yesterday by DAWN".

"Militant organizations are active".

"We will have to find out who is responsible for laying the foundation of terrorism in the Country", he said.

"It's absolutely unacceptable. This is exactly what we are struggling for".

The comments, in which Sharif implied he was removed from office by the Supreme Court previous year for trying to end military support for anti-India militants, led to uproar in Pakistan, where criticising the military is increasingly considered a "red line" that can not be crossed. "His government's actions against [JuD leader] Hafiz Saeed, the detainment, all while following orders from the U.S. and India, prove our claims that he is truly anti-Pakistan, and hence targeting Hafiz Saeed", JuD spokesman Nadeem Awan told Asia Times.

A meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) has been scheduled on the army's "suggestion" to discuss the "recent misleading media statement regarding Mumbai incident", said Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor. The participants unanimously rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions. He reiterated his demand of forming a commission to probe his remarks.

A series of military operations have displaced the Taliban from their former strongholds in the country's northwestern tribal districts, but sporadic attacks continue to happen.

Across India, Sharif's words are being regarded as an admission of Pakistan's involvement in the 2008 attacks.

Pakistan denies that it offers sanctuary to those groups, with the military saying its operations have been directed indiscriminately against all armed groups.

It faces sanctions if it does not implement reforms by this summer. Nawaz's party the Pakistan Muslim League too issued a clarification, saying that the Indian media had "grossly misinterpreted" his remarks.

In the midst of mounting support in favour of a trial for treason, Sharif continues to defend his comments, backed by Pakistan's current PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who claimed Sharif's comments have been "misreported" and pledged full support to Sharif and their party.

The World Bank also referred to a statement by the State Bank of Pakistan which rejects estimates of $ 4.9 billion in remittances from Pakistan to India on September 21, 2016, and provides an explanation of the methodology used in the World Bank report and the official remittances numbers.

Other parties, too, criticised the three-time prime minister's comments.

Abbasi reviewed the recent statement and unanimously termed it "incorrect" and "misleading".

"[Nawaz Sharif] has hurt the national interests of Pakistan", he said.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on Saturday, ruffled more than a few feathers when he openly acknowledged that militant organisations operative in Pakistan, crossed the border to "kill" people in Mumbai, in an apparent reference to the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

"If you suggest the [government] "allowed" any action against another country then [you are] suggesting official complicity", said PPP Senator Sherry Rehman.

The statement was a rare rebuke of Sharif by a government run by his own party, highlighting political tension in the run-up to a general election expected in July.

A verdict in a high-profile corruption case against Sharif and his family members is due next month.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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