News Analysis |
The National Security Council (NSC) meeting held today on the suggestion of the Pakistan Armed Forces concluded by declaring Nawaz Sharif’s statement as ‘incorrect and misleading’.
“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,” said the statement.
The meeting was called after an interview of the former premier Nawaz Sharif was published on Dawn News on 12th May. In his interview, Nawaz asserted that Pakistan allowed terrorists, who committed the 2008 Mumbai attacks, to cross their border and enter India. “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 said.
Nawaz, Maryam and other people from the Nawaz camp in PML-N are defending his statement, stating that it wasn’t outrageous but merely something that has been iterated multiple times in the past.
The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, National Security Adviser (NSA) Nasser Khan Janjuga, Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Naveed Mukhtar and senior Cabinet officials. The meeting observed that it was India, not Pakistan which delayed the finalisation of the case. “The denial of access to the principal accused, Ajmal Qasab, and his extraordinarily hurried execution became the core impediment in the finalisation of the trial,” the press release stated.
“At the same time Pakistan continues to wait for cooperation from India on the infamous Kulbhushan Jadhav and Samjhota Express episodes. The National Security Committee resolved that Pakistan shall continue to play its due role in fighting the war against terrorism at all fronts,” the meeting concluded. The meeting lasted 2.5 hours and after the meeting, PM Abbasi called Nawaz Sharif and apprised him regarding the developments of the NSC meeting.
Followed by the press release, PM Abbasi held a press conference and declared “my prime minister is still Nawaz Sharif.” He defended Nawaz Sharif’s statement, arguing that Indian media twisted and turned his statement and there was nothing wrong in it. PM Abbasi also vowed his and PML-N’s unrelenting support to Nawaz Sharif and his cause. He further reaffirmed that Pakistan will never allow terrorists to use its soil and highlighted Pakistan’s effort in the war against terrorism.
Former premier Nawaz Sharif has started a diatribe against the army and the judiciary ever since his ouster on 28th July 2017 in the Panama Papers case verdict. He has been blaming the establishment for all the woes of country, whether they are economic, diplomatic or strategic. Nawaz has even openly blamed the military for the separation of Bangladesh in 1971. However, this time he openly went out and blamed the Pakistani state for deliberately allowing terrorists to cross its borders and attack India.
The National Security Committee resolved that Pakistan shall continue to play its due role in fighting the war against terrorism at all fronts,” the meeting concluded.
Due to the enormity of his claim, he received widespread condemnations from all circles of the society and today’s NSC meeting was called with a one-point agenda of discussing Nawaz Sharif’s statement. There were even calls from public and media circles that Nawaz should be trailed for treason under Article 6 of the Constitution but none of this appears to be happening. Even though the NSC meeting lasted for 2.5hrs, the details released to the press were very minute and the actual happenings of the meeting are still a secret.
The questions on everyone’s mind are; where does the premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stand on the Nawaz Sharif issue; How will the military react to it; will PML-N continue to support Nawaz or not? The premier has made it clear that he is still a part of the Nawaz Sharif camp and since he gave this statement after the NSC meeting, it is safe to assume that the establishment is willing to let Nawaz off the hook one more time.
Political analysts believe that the establishment wants the courts to deliver the final blow to Nawaz’s dying political career through the Panama cases in the accountability court. The last question at hand is whether the PML-N will stand behind Nawaz’s back. Even though PM Abbasi has expressed PML-N’s support to his distressed Quaid, the reality is very different. There are mixed opinions regarding his statement within the PML-N.
Nawaz has even openly blamed the military for the separation of Bangladesh in 1971. However, this time he openly went out and blamed the Pakistani state for deliberately allowing terrorists to cross its borders and attack India.
On one hand; Nawaz, Maryam and other people from the Nawaz camp in PML-N are defending his statement, stating that it wasn’t outrageous but merely something that has been iterated multiple times in the past. On the other hand, there is Shehbaz Sharif and his loyalist who are defending Nawaz by stating that his statement is being misinterpreted and Nawaz claimed no such thing.
However, there is a third group, which is arguably the most dangerous for Nawaz and PML-N. It is the group of people who are vexed by Nawaz’s anti-military/judiciary rhetoric and are wondering that he is gone too far. The most prominent among these is the former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who sharply criticized his Quaid’s claims about the Mumbai attack and demanded that he retract his statement. Considering the recent mass exodus of PML-N legislators, media experts believe that further names will join the list of mutineers very soon, leaving PML-N considerably weak right before the elections.