Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said Pakistan has isolated itself by its support for militant organisations and use of non-state actors as central to its foreign policy.
In an interview to Dawn newspaper ahead of his rally in Multan on Friday, Mr. Sharif expressed concern over Islamabad’s foreign policy approach.
“We have isolated ourselves. Despite making sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it. 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?” Mr. Sharif said, referring to the trial in Pakistan of those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The trial is still at a preliminary stage of investigation after ten years.
The Mumbai attack case has entered the tenth year but none of the suspects in Pakistan has been punished yet. A number of Pakistani witnesses — both official and civilian — have testified and provided evidence against the seven accused, but the Pakistani authorities have been insisting on questioning Indian witnesses for reaching a verdict in the case.
Without naming Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar’s militant organisations — Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Jaish-e-Mohammad — operating in the country, Mr. Sharif said, “Militant organisations are active in Pakistan.”
“It’s absolutely unacceptable (to allow non-state actors to cross the border and commit terrorism there). President (Vladimir) Putin has said it. President Xi (Jinping) has said it,” Mr Sharif said.
The Nawaz Sharif government and the powerful military have had serious differences over foreign policy.
Citing the military and judiciary establishment, Mr. Sharif said, “You can’t run a country if you have two or three parallel governments. This has to stop. There can only be one government — the constitutional one.”
In 2015 a report published in Dawn, referred to as Dawn Leaks, claimed that the government had been telling the military not to support the Haqqani Network. This report led to a serious differences between the two institutions. The government had to dismiss its Information Minister Pervez Rashid and Advisor on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatmi along with principal information officer.
Mr. Sharif has been disqualified for life from holding public office by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.