Just about two days ahead of the Panamagate JIT deadline to finish its probe, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday chaired two important meetings of different nature.
While the PM led a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) to discuss the prevailing border tensions, he also got his partymen into a huddle to chalk out a strategy on the ongoing probe against his family’s offshore properties.
At the NSC meeting, Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders put their collective weight behind the Kashmir issue, stressing that regional peace and progress is directly linked with the “resolution of all outstanding issues [with India], including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir”.
The leadership also reiterated Islamabad’s commitment to work for peace and progress in Afghanistan through an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process with the help of both regional and global partners”, besides continuing to work for normalcy in Afghanistan.
This, however, required simultaneous efforts by the Afghan government which “needs to restore effective control on its territory”, an official statement issued after the NSC meeting said.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Naval Chief Admiral Zakaullah, PAF Chief Air Marshal Sohail Aman, National Security Advisor Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, Director-General Inter Services Intelligence Lt-Gen Naveed Mukhtar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, PM’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz and other senior civilian and military officials attended the NSC meeting.
A statement issued by the PM House said that during the meeting, matters relating to national security and foreign policy in the regional and global context were discussed.
“It was reiterated that Pakistan has acted as a frontline state in global counterterrorism efforts with unparalleled sacrifices and successes. No other country in the world has done as much for global security as Pakistan at a huge cost of both men and material. Sacrifices [rendered by] security forces, law-enforcement agencies and the national resolve in fighting terrorism was acknowledged and appreciated during the meeting,” the statement said.
And the internal party meeting, chaired by the PM, was attended, among others, by Interior Minister Chauhdry Nisar, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal and other senior party members.
Sources in the PML-N said that the meeting reviewed steps taken in defence of the Sharif family in the Panamagate case and a future strategy in this regard.
The meeting, according to the sources, decided to focus on purported lacunae in the JIT probe, like the investigation panel not having recorded the statement of Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.
A senior party leader, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune that the PM’s whirlwind action was part of the party’s strategy to project PML-N leadership’s “popularity and control over things in a bid to demonstrate that it was ready to deal with any eventuality”.
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