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Nawaz Sharif Admits Pakistani Intrusion Led to Kargil War

Nawaz Sharif Admits Pakistani Intrusion Led to Kargil War

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 28: Perhaps in a historic first, a Pakistani leader has accepted the guilt of violating an agreement with India that could have ensured peace and stability in the region.

The former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday admitted that Islamabad had “violated” an agreement signed in 1999 by him and the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. His apparent reference was to intrusion by Pakistan by General Pervez Musharraf into Indian territory that led to Kargil war.

“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,” Mr Sharif told a meeting of the PML-N general council that elected him president of the ruling party six years after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court.

Mr Sharif and Vajpayee signed the historic Lahore Declaration on February 21, 1999, after a summit. 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 ruined the agreement and the peace in the region.

About Pakistani nuclear test, Mr Sharif claimed, “President Bill Clinton had offered Pakistan $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,” Mr Sharif said on a day when Pakistan marked the 26th anniversary of its first nuclear tests.

Mr Sharif (74) 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 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder leader Imran Khan were true.

He also talked about the role of former ISI chief Gen Zahirul Islam in toppling his government in 2017 to bring Imran Khan into power. He asked Imran 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 three-time premier 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.

Mr Sharif also praised his younger brother, the incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, 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. Mr Sharif said after assuming the office of the PML-N President he would renew efforts to strengthen the party.



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