LHC issues bailable arrest warrants for PM Abbasi in high treason case

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 News Analysis |

The Lahore High Court on Monday issued a bailable arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for failing to appear before the court in a treason case. The LHC also directed Abbasi to submit surety bonds worth Rs 1 million whereas notices were also issued to Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif and controversial journalist Cyril Almeida.

According to sources, the petitioner’s legal counsel alleged Nawaz had violated his oath of office by giving controversial interview [Dawn leaks] to Almeida. The lawyer also accused Abbasi of violating his oath of office by sharing details of minutes of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting with ousted Sharif. He requested the court to initiate treason proceedings against both former premiers.

Pakistan earned a bad name, was blamed by India, bashed by the international community and snubbed by the United States of America. As a matter of fact, why would Pakistan do something which damages her image and credibility?

The meeting of the NSC was held on May 14th where the statement given by Nawaz Sharif was rejected. “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,” said a press release issued after the 22nd NSC meeting held at Prime Minister’s House.

Read more: LHC clears Abbasi and Fawad to contest elections

Following the meeting, Abbasi met Nawaz and briefed him about the concerns and discussions held during the NSC meeting.

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?” 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 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 logical conclusion of the case.

The LHC also directed Abbasi to submit surety bonds worth Rs1 million whereas notices were also issued to Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif and controversial journalist Cyril Almeida.

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.

Read more: Abbasi back in action: LHC clears him to contest elections from…

Nawaz Sharif was referring to the recent media campaigns led by Indian and western media against Pakistan to isolate her. Pakistan has been under the constant pressure of the United States to follow the policy of ‘do more’ in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s former defense minister had declined to ‘do more’ and asked the US to do more now.

The Reaction of 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.

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 their stance on Mumbai attacks. Since India has, unlike Pakistan, many English TV channels and online publications to attract the international audience and sell their narrative, an interesting anti-Pakistan narrative just got strengthened across the world just in a while.

Read more: LHC’s ban on anti-judiciary speeches is real despite misinterpretation

Mumbai Attacks; Conspiracy Theories and Indian Narrative

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?

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 immediately blamed Pakistan for the brutal attack.

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.

Read more: Why was the CJP justified to rebuke and admonish a…

Pakistan earned a bad name, was blamed by India, bashed by the international community and snubbed by the United States of America. As a matter of fact, why would Pakistan do something which damages her image and credibility?

In the age of dominant media war and narratives, anything which does not conform to the norms set by global and regional hegemons is called a conspiracy theory. So is the explanation of Davidsson’s of Mumbai attacks these days.

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