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The PML-N and its leaders have, since Saturday, been scrambling to explain what the statement actually meant, while Nawaz has since read out the excerpts from the interview asking whether he has said anything wrong.

"We need to understand the ongoing dynamics and should support our armed forces shoulder to shoulder", he added stressing that an global conspiracy to isolate Pakistan is being hatched. Despite sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan's narrative is being accepted, but ours is not.

Following a backlash in global and local media, Pakistan Army Spokesperson Major Asif Ghafoor had announced that the NSC meeting had been called to clarify Pakistan's stance on Sharif's statement, Geo News reported. He had questioned why his country had not been able to complete the trial in the case yet. He was referring to the Mumbai attacks-related trial proceedings which have stalled in the Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.

"Without naming Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar's terrorist organisations - Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Jaish-e-Mohammad, - operating in the country with impunity, Sharif said, Terrorist organisations are active in Pakistan". This is exactly what we are struggling for. "President Putin has said it. President Xi has said it", Mr Nawaz had said.

"Running a parallel "state within a state", Pakistan's Punjabi-dominated military establishment has always followed its own agenda that is independent of democratically elected governments", Nusrat lamented. This has to stop.

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The rejection of Sharif's remarks came at a meeting of Pakistan's top civil-military body presided over by his successor Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Babar Awan, a PTI leader, added that Sharif's comments may have even represented an act of high treason.

The NSC said Pakistan also awaits cooperation from India on the matters of Samjhauta Express and spy Kulbhushan Jadhav. "State of Pakistan [and] all its institutions stand together in the global fight against terrorism".

Earlier, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz distanced itself from the report and said in a statement on Sunday that it was "misinterpreted" by Indian and Pakistani media.

In the interview with Dawn on Friday, Sharif had also slammed the apparent delay in the conclusion of the 26/11 trial in Pakistan.

"Kasab was hanged in such haste, so that the Mumbai attacks could be used as a tool for Pakistan bashing across the world on political basis", he said. "It shows the huge diplomatic pressure on Pakistan on issue of terrorism & rigorous efforts by Narendra Modi government which has nearly cornered Pakistan on every aspect", he said.

At least 166 Indians and foreigners were killed in the 2008 bloodbath blamed on 10 Pakistani terrorists.


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