NA session: PM Abbasi defends Nawaz as PTI, PML-N trade barbs

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in another attempt to mitigate the fallout resulting from deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement on Mumbai attacks, encouraged the formation of a commission to determine who the real ‘traitor’ is.
Speaking on the floor of the Lower House, the prime minister suggested that a ‘Truth Reconciliation Committee’ should be formed as Nawaz’s comments were part of a larger interview and should be viewed in the same manner.
“The issue is not that no one has ever spoken on the 26/11 attacks; Pervez Musharraf spoke on it, former Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Gen Pasha spoke on it, Gen Durrani spoke on the matter. Former interior minister Rehman Malik and Imran Khan have also given interviews on the matter.”
The premier said that while some argue for the formation of the commission, other have said cases should be filed against Nawaz, he would support a committee on the issue. “A committee should be made, no matter whether two weeks or two hours left in the government’s tenure,” he added.
Prime Minister Abbasi maintained that the interview’s been written in such a manner which paves way for misunderstandings. “Who misinterpreted it? Indian media. You can see newspapers from Saturday, no reports related to Pakistan – these are all Indian gimmicks to attack our country,” reiterated PM Abbasi.
He said the reaction to Nawaz’s statement is only playing into India’s hands.  “Are we going to let ourselves be played by India?” he questioned. Defending the disqualified premier, PM Abbasi said that Nawaz never said or implied that the attackers of 26/11 were deliberately sent from Pakistan.
“Nawaz never stated that, India interpreted it as such and pushed it on their media for their own malafide intent. Their speculations have become a matter of our national security,” he added. The prime minister also said the statement should not be used for political point scoring.
“Nobody here needs to give a certificate of patriotism to anyone.”
“An NSC meeting was called to ensure that the government’s stance is in the open. We categorically rejected claims that people were deliberately sent from Pakistan to India,” he concluded.

PTI’s rebuttal

Vice President of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mehmood Qureshi, took the floor before the prime minister and brought the ruling party under fire for their Quaid’s statement.
“What was the need for such a statement, Nawaz should explain himself,” said the PTI leader. “Why was Cyril Almeida flown on a private aircraft for the interview? He earned his name from the Dawn Leaks scandal.”
Qureshi further added that Nawaz is sticking to his statement and has even refuted the NSC’s statement on the matter. “His remarks have led to agitation between India and Pakistan. Seems to me as if Maryam and Nawaz deliberately gave the rejection statement.”
The PTI vice-president said that even coalition parties have distanced themselves from Nawaz’s statement. “With this interview, we are moving from the grey list to the black list,” he said, hinting to the Financial Action Task Force list (FATF) that placed the country on the grey list.
“He asks what’s wrong with his statement, we demand an explanation over why the statement was passed in the first place,” added Qureshi.

Nawaz’s statement

Nawaz on May 12, during an interview with a local daily, had stated that “Militant organisations are active. 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?”
“We have isolated ourselves. Despite giving sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it,” he added.
His remarks were immediately picked up by Indian media, which termed the former prime minister’s statement as a confession of Pakistan’s role in the Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.