Former spokesperson implies PMLN leader’s decision was guided by his ‘business interests’
A former spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Sunday claimed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had barred the government body from delivering any comments against India or convicted spy Kulbushan Jadhav.
In an interview with Islamabad-based journalist Isa Naqvi, which is available on his YouTube channel, Tasneem Aslam alleged that Sharif did not want to malign India during press briefings. “Nawaz Sharif did not want to say anything against India and Jadhav through the Foreign Office,” said the spokesperson, who served in the role from 2005 to 2007 during the rule of Gen. Pervez Musharraf and again from 2013-2017 with the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government.
Aslam claimed that Sharif’s directives did not benefit Pakistan, “but I do not know whether his [Nawaz Sharif’s] own interests or not.”
Aslam reiterated the incumbent government’s claims of Sharif having business interests in India and implied—but did not outright admit—this might have been why the former prime minister had not wanted anything about India to be voiced by the Foreign Office. She also questioned why Sharif had not met with leaders of India-held Kashmir’s Hurriyat Conference when he visited India in 2014.
“Usually, every prime minister of Pakistan meets Hurriyat leaders but Nawaz Sharif did not meet them when he visited India,” she said, adding that the former premier had also avoided referring to India or Jadhav during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2016. During his speech, Sharif had said peace between Pakistan and India was only possible if the two countries resolved the Kashmir dispute. He had also highlighted New Delhi’s atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir, including the blinding of hundreds by pellet guns.
Reacting to Aslam’s allegations, PMLN information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb branded them as false and biased. “It is a false and biased expression of an individual’s views, based on her personal predilections,” she said, adding that Sharif’s attempts to resolve the Kashmir dispute were well documented and could not be summarily dismissed.
Aslam’s allegations come as Sharif is awaiting medical treatment in London to the PTI-led incumbent government’s great displeasure. The government had requested the courts to declare Sharif a proclaimed offender and have claimed they have asked the U.K. government to deport him back to Pakistan to finish out his prison sentence.