India Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif barred Pakistan Foreign office from anti-India comments: Ex-diplomat

NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif did not allow the country’s foreign office to comment against India and Kulbhushan Jadhav, currently lodged in a Pakistan jail over “spying charges”, former spokesperson of the country’s foreign office, Tanseem Aslam, claimed in an interview.

In yet another sensational claim, she said that Sharif had business interests in India, and hinted that this may have influenced a decision to skip a meeting with Hurriyat Conference leaders during Sharif’s 2014 trip to New Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Usually, every prime minister of Pakistan meets Hurriyat leaders, but Nawaz Sharif did not meet them when he visited India,” Aslam claimed during the recent interview with a YouTube channel run by an Islamabad-based journalist, Isa Naqvi.

“Nawaz Sharif did not want to say anything against India and Jadhav through the Foreign Office,” she claimed. Aslam said Sharif did not talk about India and Jadhav even in his speech at the United Nations.

Aslam worked as the foreign office spokesperson twice — from 2005 to 2007 under General Pervez Musharraf and later between 2013 and 2017.

She has also worked in Pakistani diplomatic missions in New Delhi, Paris, The Hague and as Ambassador to Italy and Morocco.

Asked if Sharif’s instruction benefited the country, she said, “It did not benefit the country, but I do not know whether it benefited his [Sharif’s] own interests or not.”

Responding to the claims, Marriyum Aurangzeb, the information secretary of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party, said the comments bore no resemblance to reality. “It is a false and biased expression of an individual’s views, based on her personal predilections.”

Sharif had sought to improve ties with India and had hosted Modi in Lahore in December 2015, in what was then considered a diplomatic breakthrough.

However, subsequent terror attacks in Pathankot derailed all efforts to normalise ties. The Pathankot incident was followed by cross-border attacks in Uri and Pulwama.

Indian officials said that Sharif’s moves were vetoed by Pakistan army officials as part of their strategy to promote cross-border terror.

Source Article

Lois C. Ferrara

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