ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) on Monday rejected and denounced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s claim about the Mumbai attacks and the subsequent trial in Pakistan as “incorrect”, “misleading” and “fallacious” and noted that it could have been spurred either by his “misconceptions or grievances”.
The NSC meeting had been convened on the Army’s request after Mr Sharif in an interview raised questions about the activities of militant organisations, their role in Mumbai attacks, and delays in the completion of trial of the accused in Pakistan.
“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,” read a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office after the meeting that was held with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Khurram Dastgir Khan, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of the Naval Staff Adm Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua and senior civil and military officials.
Top civil-military leadership says ‘misconceptions’ or ‘grievances’ could have been behind ex-PM’s remarks; India held responsible for delay in Mumbai attacks case
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, who is not a member of the committee, was specially invited to the meeting. However, he decided to skip the proceedings.
Mr Shah, who belongs to the Pakistan Peoples Party, told reporters that he did not attend the meeting because it was discussing an issue that related to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and its government.
The NSC noted that the issue was presented by the former prime minister “in disregard of concrete facts and realities” because of “opinion arising out of either misconceptions or grievances”.
“The participants unanimously rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions,” the statement added.
The NSC clarified that it was India, and not Pakistan, that was delaying the finalisation of the Mumbai attacks trial.
“Besides many other refusals during the investigation, 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 committee maintained.
The trial has been continuing in an antiterrorism court in Rawalpindi since 2009. The Foreign Office, it should be recalled, has all along maintained that India’s non-cooperative attitude with regards to the trial has complicated the case and weakened the prosecution.
But, importantly, Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar had during Mr Sharif’s tenure (in September 2016) written to his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhary to express India’s readiness to share the material evidence, which Pakistan had been seeking for quite some time for taking forward the Mumbai trial.
The committee reminded India that justice in the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing, in which 42 innocent Pakistanis lost their lives while travelling back to their country, was still awaited. Masterminds of the deadly attack Col Purohit and Swami Aseemanand had been set free despite confessions.
Similarly, the NSC said, Indian cooperation was also needed in spy Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
“The National Security Committee resolved that Pakistan shall continue to play its due role in fighting the war against terrorism at all fronts,” the statement concluded.
Over 160 people were killed and many others injured when terrorists carried out attacks at several places in the financial capital of India on Nov 26, 2008.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2018