Pakistan condemns Sharif over comment on Mumbai attack

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top civil and military leaders on Monday condemned a suggestion by ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that militants who killed 166 people in India in 2008 had crossed the border from Pakistan.
The comments – in which Sharif implied he was removed from office by the Supreme Court last year for trying to end military support for anti-India militants – led to an uproar in Pakistan, where criticising the military is increasingly considered a “red line” that cannot be crossed.
The National Security Council (NSC), in a special meeting on Monday called by the military, rejected Sharif’s comments in an interview with Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper as “incorrect and misleading”, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
“The participants unanimously rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions,” the office said, referring to military and civilian leaders.
“(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.”
The statement was a rare rebuke of Sharif by a government run by his own party, highlighting political tension in the run-up to a general election expected in July. Sharif’s criticism of the military has caused divisions within his party, analysts say, with some members unhappy about his confrontational approach.
The Supreme Court disqualified three-time prime minister Sharif from office in July last year over unreported sources of monthly income.
The military, which has ruled Pakistan for about half its history, denies any interference in civilian politics.
India blamed the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for the 2008 attack on the city of Mumbai. Ten gunmen spent three days spraying bullets and throwing grenades around landmarks. — Reuters