Sunday, February 24, 2019 | ePaper

Nawaz Sharif defends 26/11 remarks, says he will speak the truth

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TNN, Islamabad :
Pakistan's ousted PM Nawaz Sharif on Monday defended his recent admission about his country's involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, drawing unequivocal condemnation and rejection from National Security Committee (NSC), Pakistan's top civil-military body.
In a meeting convened by PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on the suggestion of army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the NSC reviewed Sharif 's criticism against the Pakistani establishment in delaying the trial against terrorists in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The committee, "unanimously" termed Sharif 's remarks as "incorrect and misleading". It was "unfortunate and regrettable that concrete evidence and facts were ignored," the civil-military body said.
The NSC claimed that "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." The high-level huddle attributed Sharif 's remarks to "either misconceptions or grievances".
Chaired by PM Abbasi and attended by General Bajwa, national security adviser Nasser Khan Janjuga, director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Naveed Mukhtar, senior cabinet officials and other representatives of armed forces, the meeting lasted approximately for two and half hours.
Earlier on Monday, Sharif had dispelled the notion that the comments were falsely attributed to him, saying that he will speak the truth come what may. "What did I say that was wrong in the interview?" Sharif asked reporters. He said that former president Pervez Musharraf, former interior minister Rehman Malik and former national security adviser Major-General (retd) Mehmood Durrani had already confirmed what he said.
 "Despite our 50,000 sacrifices of lives, why is the world not paying heed to our narrative? And the person who is asking this question has been labelled a traitor." He also called out the local media outlets which criticised him. "I am being called a traitor by the media - they (the media) are being made to call me a traitor. Are those who tore apart the country and the Constitution patriots? Are those who pulled out judges from their offices patriots?" he asked. When asked by a reporter to comment on allegations that India has been reluctant to provide evidence in the case, Nawaz replied, "There is no shortage of evidence - there is plenty of evidence." Following the NSC meet, Abbasi told reporters that Sharif had said that his remarks on Mumbai attacks had been misreported by the media, a claim that contradicted Sharif 's statement on Monday.

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