Former prime minister and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Nawaz Sharif met Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's "request".
Talking exclusively on DawnNewsTV show Live with Adil Shahzeb on Monday, Abbasi explained that Sharif's meeting was not just with Mohib but that the NSA was part of a delegation from Afghanistan.
“The meeting was in favour of Pakistan,” Abbasi stressed.
The PML-N leader underlined that the meeting was scheduled some five months back when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had expressed a desire for a meeting between an Afghan delegation and Nawaz Sharif in London.
He said the [controversial] statement given by the Afghan NSA was rightfully condemned by Pakistan and he got "punished" for his remarks. “But relations are always between two countries and not individuals,” Abbasi added.
Abbasi said Sharif's aim was to “improve relations” with Afghanistan through the meeting, adding that the Afghan delegation, comprising ambassadors and ministers, and Sharif discussed bilateral relations at length.
“Even if someone is your enemy and they come at your doorstep, you listen to them. But Afghanistan is a friend of Pakistan,” Abbasi said.
He also dispelled the impression that the PML-N lost the Azad Jammu and Kashmir general elections on July 25 due to Sharif’s meeting with Mohib, as claimed by the government. “There was no reflection of the meeting in the poll results and no one had raised this issue during our campaign.”
The meeting between Afghan NSA and former premier Nawaz Sharif in London last week had stirred up a hornet’s nest in Pakistan, with the government strongly condemning the PML-N supremo for meeting an “enemy of Pakistan”.
The pictures of the meeting were released by the NSC Afghanistan on Twitter on July 24.
Reacting to the meeting, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had 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," Fawad added.
"Modi, Mohib or Amrullah Saleh (Afghan vice president) — every enemy of Pakistan is a close friend of Nawaz Sharif."
Afghan NSA remarks on 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.