Several ministers from the ruling PTI on Saturday strongly criticised PML-N supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for meeting Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, saying it "proved his connections with Pakistan's enemies".
The previous night, Afghanistan's National Security Council's Twitter account shared a picture of Mohib and Afghan State Minister for Peace Sayed Sadat Naderi meeting Nawaz in London, where the former prime minister has been staying since 2019, to "discuss matters of mutual interest".
A screenshot of the tweet blew up on the social media platform with #NawazSharif and #AfghanNSA trending in the top 10.
While commenting on the meeting, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said "this is why sending Nawaz Sharif abroad was dangerous because such people become a part of international plots."
Nawaz's meeting with "RAW's (Indian intelligence agency — Research and Analysis Wing) biggest ally in Afghanistan is an example of this".
"Modi, Mohib or Amrullah Saleh (Afghan vice president) — every enemy of Pakistan is a close friend of Nawaz Sharif," he tweeted.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari questioned what the "matters of mutual interest" were.
"After Mohib referred to Pak — not PTI govt but [our] country — as a 'brothel', common RAW interest can only be to attack Pak," she said, adding "such shameless self-interest of Sharif to preserve looted wealth & country be damned."
"Nawaz Sharif's meeting with Afghan NSA proves his connections with Pakistan's enemies," claimed state minister Shehryar Afridi. The meeting had proved that the former prime minister was a "tool to be used against Pakistani interests", he said.
Afridi said that Nawaz's statements had already been "used" by India at international forums.
Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz termed the meeting as "nothing new", saying Nawaz had "always kept company with enemies of Pakistan, be it (steel tycoon Sajjan) Jindal or Modi".
Echoing Mazari's words, Faraz said Mohib had called Pakistan a "brothel" in the past, adding that it was a "shame" that the former prime minister was so "insensitive" to the country's self-respect.
Referring to the polls in Azad Jammu and Kashmir that will be held tomorrow, the minister said the region's people would "vote in kind" and reject the PML-N.
Calling the meeting between "fugitive" Nawaz and Mohib "appalling", Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi said Nawaz had "violated our stated policy of having no official contact with this despicable fool".
Responding to the criticism, Maryam Nawaz said the foundation of Nawaz's ideology was the peaceful coexistence of Pakistan with its neighbours and he had "worked tirelessly" for it.
"It is the very essence of diplomacy to talk to everyone, listen to their point of view and convey one's own message across: something this government doesn't comprehend and hence is a complete failure on the international front," she said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry responded to Maryam's tweet, questioning why all haters of Pakistan, from Ajit Doval to Mohib, ended up "in your palatial London palace?"
Afghan NSA remarks against Pakistan
Last month, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had hit out at Mohib for his comments against Pakistan and called on him to "reflect and correct" his behaviour.
"The national security adviser of Afghanistan carefully listen to me ... as the foreign minister of Pakistan I say that no Pakistani will shake your hand or talk with you if you don't desist from the kind of language you are using or the accusations you're making against Pakistan," Qureshi had said.
The foreign minister was responding to comments made by the Afghan national security adviser during a visit to Nangarhar province in May, during which he called Pakistan a "brothel house", according to a Voice of America report.
"You should be ashamed and you should be guilty at your words and my blood is boiling ever since your speech in Nangarhar," Qureshi had said.
"Correct your behaviour and reflect on it. I say this to the international community that if this behaviour continues, then this person, who calls himself the national security adviser of Afghanistan, will actually be playing the role of a spoiler [for peace]."