ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday dismissed the National Security Committee’s (NSC) stance over his recent remarks on the Mumbai attacks and urged the formation of a national commission to probe issues plaguing the country.
Speaking to the media during his almost daily accountability court hearing, Nawaz strongly condemned the NSC statement and termed it “regrettable and painful”. Nawaz’s stance is in sharp contrast to the stance taken by his party leaders, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
“I reject NSC’s May 14 statement as it is based on misperception,” he said. “I am not an ordinary citizen but a three-time prime minister elected by the people of Pakistan, hence, I am privy to realities.”
Continuing his tirade, the ousted premier said it was time the country knew who was responsible for the current state of affairs. “What have we turned this country into? Who introduced terrorism to this beautiful country?”
Referring to the formation of a national commission, the former premier said, “Who led Pakistan towards isolation and has brought the country to a stage where the international community is not ready to accept Pakistan’s narrative,” he told journalists. “The national commission should be tasked to find the cause of these issues. It is about time we find out who is a traitor and who is a patriot.”
In a startling revelation, Nawaz claimed he had spoken about the aforementioned issues during an NSC huddle but it was translated into the infamous “Dawn leaks” matter.
PML-N leader Nehal Hashmi also arrived at the accountability court to express solidarity with the party’s supreme leader.
When asked if he regretted the statements that led to a one-month prison sentence, Hashmi said he was sentenced despite an apology and refused to further comment on it. However, after a long pause, the former senator quipped that, “they are kings, they can do anything.”
Hashmi also expressed his unyielding support to the PML-N Quaid and the ruling party in light of the recent controversy. “Anyone can be hit by misfortune. The entire society is going through tough times.”
When the media pointed out lack of response from the PML-N during his trial, Hashmi added one does not need to issue a press release to express ‘love’.
Meanwhile, sources speculate likeliness of inter-party changes with the supreme leader being sidelined in the wake of the Mumbai attacks controversy. Apart from damaging the country’s integrity in the international media, the statements may be lethal for PML-N’s political structure. After being ousted from the premiership, Nawaz may also be forced out of politics.
Nawaz on May 12, during an interview with a local daily, had stated that “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?”
“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 added.
His remarks were immediately picked up by Indian media, which termed the former prime minister’s statement as a confession of Pakistan’s role in the Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.