Saturday Jul 24, 2021
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's meeting with a delegation comprising Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib "damaged Islamabad's security doctrine" as the man had earlier issued anti-Pakistan remarks.
The minister, addressing a press conference alongside Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar in Islamabad, said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who has repeatedly inflicted misery on Muslims in the country — has links with the Afghan official who had met Nawaz.
"When two or three, who have started following the extremist ideology of Modi, meet Nawaz, then this circle [getting together] raises questions and damages our security doctrine," he said.
In a public speech two months back in eastern Nangarhar province, next to the Pakistani border, Mohib had not only repeated his allegations about Islamabad "not wanting to work with a Pashtun leader in Afghanistan" but called Pakistan a “brothel house.”
His remarks outraged leaders in Islamabad, who denounced them, saying they “debased all norms of interstate communication.”
Fawad, in today's briefing, said that he was "surprised" that Nawaz had met the Afghan delegation and contested that Mohib and Afghanistan vice president Amrullah Saleh do not have much stake in their own country.
"It is Amrullah Saleh's ploy to defame Pakistan [...] We have also made it clear that Pakistan would not hold any talks with Afghanistan's national security adviser [Mohib]," he said.
He said that when the Afghan official had issued anti-Pakistan remarks in May, Islamabad had cut off ties with his office.
The information minister said the Afghan adviser, after his meeting with Nawaz, had also met "Indian intelligence officials".
The information minister said he could not repeat the words Mohib had used for Pakistan, while also stressing that Islamabad stood with no select group, but with the people of Afghanistan.
The minister said Pakistan always aspired for a peaceful Afghanistan and that it had always helped its Afghan brethren during hard times. "We want a government in Afghanistan that is acceptable to every group."
Nawaz has a history of "controversial" meetings, he said, adding that Pakistan was already facing a lot of controversies on the diplomatic front.
However, he reiterated that Pakistan had always wanted good relations with India and it still wishes to.
Coming back to Nawaz's meeting with Mohib, he said PML-N should issue a clarification on the discussion.
Fawad asked the PML-N leadership whether their party supremo had informed them about the meeting beforehand. "Did he even inform the PML-N's central executive committee?" he asked.
"PML-N should inform the people whether the party's CEC had was apprised about the meeting or not," he said, adding that Nawaz had met a person whose "ties with India were no secret".
He demanded that the audio transcripts of Nawaz's meeting be made public.
The minister said the transcripts of Nawaz's meeting with Indian tycoon Sajjan Jindal were yet to be made public. "In her book, Indian journalist Barkha Dutt wrote that Nawaz through Jindal had informed Modi that the army was in his way."
In a development that has sent shockwaves across Pakistan, the London-based PML-N leader was met today by Mohib and State Minister for Peace Sayed Sadat Naderi today.
The National Security Council of Afghanistan (NSCA) gave an update about the meeting on Twitter, saying that the the Afghan state minister for peace and the national security adviser discussed "matters of mutual interest" with the former Pakistan prime minister.
Officials on both sides agreed that they would both benefit from the "policy of mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs," the NSCA was quoted as saying by Indian news agency ANI.
They also noted that "strengthening democracy" will put both neighbours on the path towards stability and prosperity.
Taking over the media briefing, Akbar said that the Israeli NSO Group's spyware scandal was much bigger than the Panama leaks.
Pakistani, Chinese, and diplomats from other countries in the Indian capital appeared on a list of potential targets for phone hacking via the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware, reported The Hindu, on the alleged use of the software by the Indian government.
Akbar said this was an attack on Pakistan's sovereignty and the government was ready to defend the country's sovereignty and integrity.
The adviser on accountability said that the government was mulling over options on how to raise the matter in the European Union and the United Nations. "We will also launch an inter-agency investigation into this," he added.
The adviser said that the Federal Investigation Agency, Foreign Office, and other institutions would launch a probe into the matter, and following that, Pakistan would seek legal action against India.