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Sharif's observations

Sharifs observations
In a recent interview, former Pakistan Prime Minister and ruling PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif has made some startling revelations about Pakistan's role in promoting terrorism within the country and outside. He has admitted that non-state actors in Pakistan had crossed the border and carried out the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 168 people were killed. Soon after his interview, he has come under attack from, the Pakistani media and the opposition leaders for his utterances. Main opposition leader and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan have dubbed him as the modern-day Mir Jafar who joined enemy forces for personal gains. He has also said that Sharif is speaking the language of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sharif, who has been barred from holding any public office for life by the country's Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case, has for the first time accepted what is an open secret about Pakistan that it harbours and promotes international terrorist organisations as a matter of state policy. The general elections in Pakistan are due in July 2018 but Sharif cannot contest the election because of the ban slapped by Pakistan's Supreme Court. Sharif has been holding public rallies for his party and his daughter Maryam Nawaz has emerged as his political heir.
Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has termed Sharif's interview an important disclosure and said that it vindicates India's claims that the handlers of the 26/11 Mumbai attack were based in Pakistan. Sharif in his interview also admitted that Pakistan has been isolated in the international arena for its support to terrorist organisations. He also said that nobody in the international forum is accepting Pakistan's narrative while Afghanistan's narrative is being accepted. The war-ravaged Afghanistan, too, has been a victim of Pakistan's policy of supporting international terrorist organisations which carry out terrorist activities in the country with complete impunity. International forces led by the US are present in Afghanistan for more than a decade and waging a war against the Talibans, who receive vital support from the jehadi elements in Pakistan. The US under the new Donald Trump administration has identified Pakistan as the chief troublemaker in Afghanistan and tightened its policy by suspending civil and military aids to Pakistan. The concerted efforts of India and Afghanistan to expose Pakistan's double speak in the matter has resulted in Pakistan's isolation at the international level. The US is taking unilateral decisions as far as its operations in Afghanistan are concerned. Pakistan-based terrorist organisations' sway in Jammu and Kashmir is on the wane and the presence of a large number of Indian security forces in the state has ensured that the situation does not deteriorate any further. There is a civilian government in power and terrorist attacks and agitations by local disgruntled elements have considerably come down. All this leads to an environment of frustration in Pakistan which hoped that through their support to terrorist elements, it would be able to destabilise India. Though PML-N leaders have come out in support of Sharif, stating that his interview was grossly misrepresented by Indian media, Sharif' frank and honest observation about the presence of terrorist camps in the country can lead to a timely course correction if Pakistan's ruling elite takes his remarks seriously. But the manner in which the opposition parties and other key players of the ruling elite in the country have reacted, it seems the country is still in a denial mode as far as the ill-effects of supporting the terrorists are concerned. They have accused Sharif of speaking the Indian narrative. The Indian narrative is simple and now universally accepted that for the last two decades or so, Pakistan has been providing logistical and financial support to jehadi elements who intend to wage a religious war in different countries. Under this policy, Pakistan has given training and weapons to gullible youth to carry out terrorist acts in Indian and Afghanistan. Both the countries have suffered immensely because of this mindless policy. Afghanistan has virtually collapsed as a nation. Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, too, has suffered a lot in the past two decades because of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the state. Thousands of people have been killed and injured in the ensuing war between terrorists and security forces. The development projects have been hampered and there is widespread unemployment. The once prosperous tourism industry has hit an all-time low as few tourists are willing to risk their lives by visiting the beautiful state. Sharif's latest remark should serve as a grim reminder to the present situation and goad the Pakistani policymakers to stop supporting terrorists and their activities.

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