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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) supreme leader and former premier Nawaz Sharif on Friday called for an urgent meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) to discuss the contents of the recently launched book written jointly by former Pakistani and Indian spymasters.

In an informal interaction with journalists while appearing before the accountability court in Avenfield properties reference on Friday, Mr Sharif appeared to draw a parallel between his own recent statement on the Mumbai attacks case and the contents of the book penned by former director general of the Inter-Services Intelli­gence (ISI) retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani and former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) A.S. Dulat.

Attempts to draw parallel between his remarks on Mumbai attacks and content of the book written by former chiefs of ISI, RAW

The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace — Durrani and Dulat’s paperback released on Wednesday — has served as an ice-breaker of sorts between the two warring neighbours while also spurring criticism of Indian state repression in held Kashmir.

However, the ousted prime minister believed that the former DG ISI through this book made public some “serious information” and that it had become necessary to call an urgent meeting of the security council to discuss the matter.

Earlier this month an NSC meeting was called over Mr Sharif’s remarks that he had made during an interview with Dawn. His statement “Should we allow them [non-state actors] to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai?” was perceived across the border as an open admission that Pakistan was involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The NSC meeting reviewed the ‘situation’ arising from the media furore and found the comments “incorrect and misleading”.

The former prime minister also called for the formation of a national commission to ascertain and investigate events such as the toppling of the PML-N government in Balochistan, horse trading in Senate elections, and the election of the Senate chairman.

He expressed the resolve that the next PML-N government would establish a powerful commission that would examine the grave incidents of the past. The beleaguered PML-N leader said people were witnessing how “certain plotters are controlling the media and encroaching upon its freedom. They are putting pressure on TV channels and interrupting the circulation of newspapers and also managing the transmission through cable operators.”

He said such tactics were tantamount to denying freedom of expression and vowed that the PML-N would form a powerful commission to address these core issues if it came to power again. He added that people would not allow parallel governments since the country could not afford more than one government.

Mr Sharif claimed that it was due to political uncertainty after the July 28, 2017 verdict that foreign reserves depleted, and the stock market and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) suffered.

In response to a question, Mr Sharif expressed the hope that consensus could be reached on the name of caretaker prime minister, as otherwise the matter would go to parliament.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2018

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