LHC dismisses treason petition against Nawaz

PAT leader had sought treason case against former PM for controversial statement on Mumbai attacks

Former PM Nawaz Sharif on May 10. Photo: AFP 

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissed on Thursday a petition seeking a treason case against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in light of his controversial remarks on 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s Khurram Nawaz Gandapur had filed a treason petition against Nawaz on May 14 as he had “maligned Pakistan and its institutions”.

“Nawaz's statement is tantamount to treason. Instructions should be given to register a treason case against Nawaz Sharif,” the petition had said.

However, giving its order on the maintainability of the petition, Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza termed it unfit for hearing.

The LHC directed the petitioner to approach the relevant forums in this regard first.

The controversial statement

The former PM, in an interview to Dawn newspaper on May 12, had said, “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?”

The remarks were played up by the Indian media as an admission of Pakistan's involvement in the terrorist attacks and also led to criticism from local media and opposition politicians. 

Moreover, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, headed by Shehbaz Sharif, clarified that Nawaz's statement was not reflective of the party's policy and rejected all claims made in it. 

However, the matter was not settled with the army 'suggesting' a special meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) on Monday, May 13.

The NSC, which met under the chair of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, termed Nawaz's statement "incorrect and misleading".

"The participants [of the NSC] observed that it was very unfortunate that the opinion arising out of either misconceptions or grievances was being presented in disregard of concrete facts and realities," a statement issued by the PM Office had said.

However, Nawaz did not seem to be budging from his stance as he stuck to his statement, asking outside the accountability court the same day that his question was yet to be answered. 

Following the NSC statement, Abbasi had clarified at a press conference that Nawaz's remarks were misquoted in the media. 

The 'press talk', as it was later referred to by the state information minister since it was not broadcast live, was held after Abbasi met Nawaz following the NSC meeting. 

The following day, however, Nawaz termed the NSC statement 'painful and frightening'. 

Speaking in the National Assembly the same day, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urged opposition members not to put the country's national security at stake for political point scoring.