• Thursday, July 25, 2024

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Pakistan’s former PM Nawaz Sharif says his country had ‘violated’ pact with India

The three-time premier, who had engaged with India for peace in late 1990s, said in an apparent reference to the Kargil misadventure by Gen Pervez Musharraf, the late dictator who had overthrown him in a coup.

Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (R) stands beside his daughter Maryam Nawaz (L) as he waves to his supporters gathered at a park during an event held to welcome him in Lahore on October 21, 2023. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

PAKISTAN’S former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday (28) admitted that his country had “violated” an agreement with neighbour India which he had signed with his former Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999, in an apparent reference to the Kargil misadventure by Gen Pervez Musharraf, the late dictator who had overthrown him in a coup in October the same year.

“On May 28, 1998, Pakistan carried out five nuclear tests. After that Vajpayee Saheb came here and made an agreement with us. But we violated that agreement…it was our fault,” Sharif told a meeting of his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) general council in Lahore.

The council elected him president of the ruling party six years after he was disqualified by the country’s Supreme Court seven years ago.

Read: Pakistan business leaders urge PM Sharif to begin trade talks with India

Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif with his former counterpart from India Atal Behari Vajpayee
Former prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif (L) receives his former Indian counterpart Atal Behari Vajpayee at the Wagah border crossing between the two countries after the first regular bus service between them started on February 20, 1999. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Sharif and Vajpayee signed the Lahore Declaration on February 21, 1999, after a historic summit held in Lahore.

The agreement that talked about a vision of peace and stability between the two countries signalled a major breakthrough, but a few months later Pakistani intrusion in the Kargil district in Jammu and Kashmir led to the Kargil War.

Read: Three-time PM Nawaz Sharif claims win in controversial Pakistan election

“(US) President Bill Clinton had offered Pakistan USD 5 billion to stop it from carrying out nuclear tests but I refused. Had (former prime minister) Imran Khan like a person been on my seat he would have accepted Clinton’s offer,” Sharif said on a day when Pakistan marked the 26th anniversary of its first nuclear tests.

The 74-year-old leader, who has been Pakistan’s prime minister thrice, talked about how he was removed from the office of the prime minister in 2017 on a false case by then chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar.

He said all cases against him were false while the cases against Khan, founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were true.

He also talked about the role of former chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Gen Zahirul Islam, in toppling his government in 2017 to bring Khan into power.

He asked Khan to deny that he was not launched by the ISI.

“I ask Imran not to blame us (of being patronised by the army) and tell whether Gen Islam had talked about bringing the PTI into power,” he said and added Khan would sit at the feet of the military establishment.

The former premier, who returned to Pakistan from a self-exile in the UK last year end ahead of the national elections held in February, talked about receiving a message from Gen Islam to resign from the office of prime minister (in 2014).

“When I refused, he threatened to make an example of me,” he said. Sharif also praised his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s current prime minister, for standing by his side through thick and thin.

“Efforts were made to create differences between us but Shehbaz remained loyal to me. Even Shehbaz was asked to become PM in the past and leave me but he declined,” he said.

Sharif said after assuming the office of the PML-N president, he would renew efforts to strengthen the party.

(With PTI inputs)

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