Nawaz Sharif Says 26/11 Remarks "Misinterpreted" As Pak Army Calls Meet

A spokesperson for Nawaz Sharif has accused the Indian media of misinterpreting his remarks and criticised the Pakistani media for its failure to fact-check

Nawaz Sharif Says 26/11 Remarks 'Misinterpreted' As Pak Army Calls Meet

Nawaz Sharif also criticised the delay in the conclusion of the Mumbai attack trial.

New Delhi:  After what appeared to be his admission that Pakistani terrorists carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks, known as 26/11, Pakistan's ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has claimed that the media "grossly misinterpreted" his remarks.

Following his interview with the Dawn newspaper in which he acknowledged that "militant organisations are active in Pakistan" and "such terror strikes (26/11) could have been prevented", not only has he become the target of fury in his own country, a high-level "national security" meeting has also been called by the Pakistani military to discuss his "misleading statements".

A spokesperson for Mr Sharif accused the Indian media of misinterpreting his remarks and said in a statement, "Unfortunately, a section of Pakistani electronic and social media has intentionally or unintentionally not only validated but has lent credence to the malicious propaganda of Indian media without going through the full facts of the statement."

"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?" Mr Sharif had said on Friday, according to the Karachi-based newspaper.

Mr Sharif also lamented that Pakistan had isolated itself. He indicated that his country should look into why its narrative that it had been fighting terrorism had not been accepted by the international community "despite sacrifices".

Taking quick note of his divulgence, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said his statement on the 26/11 terror attack vindicated India's stand.

Mr Sharif's remarks also triggered criticism from his opponents as well as some of the estranged leaders from his Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz (PML-N) party for allegedly supporting the Indian narrative on the Mumbai attack case and harming national interests.

Leading opposition leader and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan accused Mr Sharif of speaking the language of (Indian Prime Minister) Narendra Modi.

The spokesperson, however, clarified that the PML-N as the country's national political party and Nawaz Sharif, its supreme leader, "need no certificate from anybody on their commitment and capacity to preserve, protect and promote Pakistan's national security".

"After all, it was Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who, resisting all pressures, took the most important and most difficult decision on national security in Pakistan's history by making the country a nuclear power in May 1998," it said.

In order to contain the damage, the Pakistani military has asked Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to discuss the way forward, said the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani armed forces.

India has long accused Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba of carrying out the attacks in Mumbai on 26 November, 2008, that left 166 people dead and many injured after 10 terrorists with backpacks, automatic weapons and grenades launched a three-day siege on India's financial capital targeting multiple locations.

In the exclusive interview, Mr Sharif didn't name Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar's Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Jaish-e-Mohammad that operate in the country with impunity. Or the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which according to India, sailed into Mumbai from Karachi, to carry out the attacks in an operation that was coordinated by Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.

However, Mr Sharif criticised the apparent delay in the conclusion of the Mumbai attack trial which has been on in an anti-terrorism court since 2009. Indian officials say Pakistan did not keep its end of the bargain and sent the case to court without really investigating the conspiracy that led to the attacks.

Islamabad, on the other hand, insists that New Delhi had not given "solid evidence" against Hafiz Saeed and others. When Saeed was ordered to be released after 10 months of house arrest in November last years, the Pakistan government had justified the move, saying the law was equal for all.

Mr Sharif, 68, was disqualified by the Supreme Court for not being "honest and righteous" as he failed to declare in 2013 a salary he got from the company of his son in the UAE. In February, the top court also disqualified him as the head of the PML-N.

The controversy erupted last year with the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca documenting the offshore dealings of many of the world's rich and powerful.

The leaks revealed Mr Sharif's children used offshore companies to purchase high-end London flats prompting the Supreme Court to mandate an investigation into the Sharif family's businesses.

But the PML-N insists the wealth was acquired legally, through family businesses in Pakistan and the Gulf.

(With inputs from PTI)

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