Former spokesperson for the Foreign Office (FO) Tasneem Aslam has claimed that former prime minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif had barred the FO from commenting against India and its spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is currently in Pakistan’s custody.

“Nawaz Sharif did not want to say anything against India and Jadhav through the Foreign Office,” she claimed during an interview with a YouTube channel being run by journalist Isa Naqvi.

When asked if Nawaz’s instruction benefited the country, Tasneem, who worked as FO spokesperson twice — from 2005 to 2007 under military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf and during the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government between 2013 and 2017, said it “did not benefit the country” but she did not know “whether it benefited Nawaz’s own interests or not”.


She said Nawaz had business interests in India and he did not meet Muslim leaders of India-held Kashmir when he visited India as the premier. “Usually, every PM of Pakistan meets Hurriyat leaders but Nawaz Sharif did not meet them when he visited India.”

Nawaz had visited India in 2014. Aslam further said even in his speech at the United Nations (UN) summit, Nawaz did not talk about India and Jadhav but on the Kashmir issue.

Meanwhile, PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb told Dawn that the comments by a retired FO official bore no resemblance to reality. “It is a false and biased expression of an individual’s views, based on her personal predilections.”

Recalling efforts made by Nawaz to resolve the Kashmir dispute, she said that “the principled manner in which he dealt with the issue of Pakistan’s relations with its eastern neighbour was well documented”.

Marriyum added that the former premier’s address to the UN General Assembly in 2016 contained the most forceful references ever to the issue of Kashmir and the most powerful condemnation of the atrocities and brutalities of the Indian occupation forces.

The former diplomat’s statements have not been very well-received by Twitterati either.

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