News Desk |
A full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has adjourned the hearing of a petition seeking start of treason proceedings against two former prime ministers — Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi — and Cyril Almeida to November 19.
Mr. Abbasi and Mr. Almeida appeared before the bench, along with their counsel, on Monday. However, Advocate Naseer Bhutta filed an application on behalf of Mr. Sharif seeking a permanent exemption for his client from personal appearance before the bench.
“Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has tacitly admitted in an interview that Pakistan played a role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks,” wrote The Times of India.
Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, who heads the bench, pointed out that the applicant had not submitted a mandatory affidavit with his application for exemption. Naseer Bhutta said the application would be filed afresh along with the affidavit.
Background of the Matter
Ousted Prime Minister and former head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) made some ‘irresponsible’ and ‘controversial’ remarks on Mumbai attacks. In an exclusive interview to daily Dawn’s Cyril Almeida that appeared on 12th May, Sharif blamed Pakistan for ‘allowing’ terrorists to kill 150 people in Mumbai. “Militant organizations 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?” an angry Nawaz asserted.
Sharif was alluding to the 2008 Mumbai attacks when more than 150 people were killed and more than 300 were wounded. Indian media and authorities had immediately blamed Pakistan for the brutal attack. Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned terrorist organization, was held responsible for a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. Pakistan agreed to cooperate with India in order to reach a logical conclusion of the case.
Moreover, while commenting on the foreign policy of Pakistan the former premier took a tough stance and expressed his anger and displeasure. “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 said.
Nawaz Sharif was referring to the recent media campaigns led by Indian and Western media against Pakistan to isolate it. Pakistan has been under the constant pressure of the United States to follow the policy of ‘do more’ in Afghanistan. However, Pakistan was resisting these demands.
The Reaction of the Indian Media
Just after a moment, the interview was published; Indian media made headings and ran a campaign to spread what Nawaz had said.
“Pakistani terrorists carried out 26/11 Mumbai attacks, admits former PM Nawaz Sharif,” read the headline on Hindustan Times. “Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has tacitly admitted in an interview that Pakistan played a role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks,” wrote The Times of India.
In the wake of Mumbai attacks, argues Elias Davidsson, India managed to get some advantages/outcomes it wished for. Pakistan, on the other hand, paid a heavy price and is still paying.
Times Now went a step further about “Nawaz Sharif’s sensational confession”, saying: “Now, Pakistan can’t rid off 26/11 stain”. Khaleej Times wrote, “Militants from Pakistan attacked Mumbai, claims ex-PM Sharif”. These headings helped Indian media, establishment and political elite to reaffirm and propagate their stance on the Mumbai attacks. Since India has, unlike Pakistan, many English TV channels and online publications to attract an international audience and sell their narrative, a colossal anti-Pakistan narrative got strengthened across the world in a short time.
Mumbai Attacks: Who Benefited?
There are a number of conspiracy theories and a well-furnished anti-Pakistan narrative to explain the causes behind Mumbai attacks. Conspiracy theorists get attention when they focus on explaining events on the basis of their ‘utility’ and ‘outcomes’, not only on superficial levels. If Mumbai attacks and their causes and masterminds are to be understood and identified, there needs to be asked a fundamental question; who benefits?
In the wake of Mumbai attacks, argues Elias Davidsson, India managed to get some advantages/outcomes it wished for. Pakistan, on the other hand, paid a heavy price and is still paying. “Mumbai terrorism benefitted Indian institutions (Defense budget hiked by 21% immediately) and helped India, US, UK, and Israel come together and strengthened right-wing Hindutva politics in India makes lots of historical sense,” wrote Dr. Moeed Pirzada while making references from Elias Davidsson’s book, The Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence.
Many observers point that Pakistan earned a bad name, was blamed by India, bashed by the international community and snubbed by the United States of America. It could be asked why would Pakistan engage in an act that would come back to haunt it?