Defending his recent remarks about the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that he is not the first one to have accepted these facts.
Sharif said that he will continue speaking the truth no matter what the consequences are. “Will speak the truth no matter what the consequences,” he said, and then read his statement from the interview from his mobile phone to reinforce his point.
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The ousted prime minister further said that this is the reason that the world does not hear Pakistan’s stance and stated it is important to ask why that is. “I had asked a question. I need an answer,” he said.
Nawaz regretted that those who ask questions are being termed traitors in the media. “He who conducted atomic tests is being called a traitor,” said the former premier.
Sharif has been facing ire from all quarters for his admission on the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, which have prompted the Pakistani top authorities to hold a high-level ‘national security’ meeting today.
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.
In an an exclusive interview with Dawn on Friday, Sharif also criticised the apparent delay in the conclusion of the Mumbai attack trial.
The meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, was attended by top Army officials and ministers.
In the meeting, Pakistan’s National Security Committee (NSC) rejected Sharif’s statement as misleading and incorrect, further adding that it was unfortunate and regrettable that concrete evidence and facts were ignored in the ousted Pakistan PM's statement.
The NSC, in its statement, alleged that the delay in conclusion of Mumbai attack case was caused by India, not Pakistan. "Besides many other refusals during the investigation, the denial of access to the principal accused, Ajmal Kasab, and his extraordinarily hurried execution became the core impediment in the finalisation of the trial," it said.
Sharif is under attack from opponents as well as some of the estranged leaders from his Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz (PML-N) party for allegedly supporting the Indian narrative on the Mumbai attack case and harming national interests.
In the interview, Sharif said: "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".
Without naming Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar's militant organisations -- Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Jaish-e-Mohammad -- operating in the country with impunity, Sharif said: "Militant organisations are active in Pakistan.
"Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill over 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can't we complete the trial".
Sharif, 68, was disqualified by the Supreme Court for not being "honest and righteous" as he failed to declare in 2013 a salary he got from the company of his son in the UAE.
Some 166 people were killed in the attack carried out by 10 LeT men. Nine of the attackers were killed by police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was caught and hanged after handed down death sentence.