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Nawaz Sharif Stopped FO From Speaking Out Against India To Save ‘Business Interests’: Diplomat

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Tasneen Aslam, the former spokesperson of Foreign Office (FO), who served in the previous Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)’s rule, claimed on Sunday that the ex-premier Nawaz Sharif barred the FO from commenting against country’s rival India, and its spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The former FO official, while giving an interview to Islamabad-based journalist Isa Naqvi said “Nawaz Sharif did not want to say anything against India and Jadhav through the Foreign Office.” When asked as if the former prime minister’s decision benefitted the country, she said that it did not benefit Pakistan in any way. “But I do not know whether it benefited his [Nawaz’s] own interests or not,” she added.

Tasneem said that Nawaz Sharif had business interests in India and to secure that interests, he did not meet leaders of India-held Kashmir’s political party Hurriyat Conferences, when he visited India as the prime minister in 2014.

The former diplomat added that the ex-prime minister even in his speech at the United Nations summit did not talk about India and Jadhav but on the Kashmir issue.

PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb told the newspaper DAWN that the comments by a retired FO official had no resemblance to reality. “It is a false and biased expression of an individual’s views, based on her personal predilections,” she said. The PML-N leader said, “the principled manner in which he [Nawaz Shareef] dealt with the issue of Pakistan’s relations with its eastern neighbour is well documented.”

However, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari took to Twitter to comment on the former diplomat’s statement. The minister said that Tasneem has only confirmed, what the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been saying since long. “Courageous of a retired MOFA bureaucrat to come out with this,” she added.

People on Twitter are questioning as if why the former FO spokesperson did not resist and resign from her post, because she was the part of that decision making process.

Tasneem Aslam had served as FO spokesperson twice — first from 2005 to 2007 during the regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf, and then during the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government between 2013 and 2017.

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