NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has tacitly admitted in an interview that Pakistan played a role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Speaking to Dawn, Sharif stated that terrorist organisations were thriving in Pakistan and "non-state actors" were responsible for the series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 which claimed over 160 lives.
Without naming Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar's terror outfits -- Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Jaish-e-Mohammad, -- operating in the country with impunity, Sharif said: "Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai?"
The PML-N leader was questioning why the trial into the Mumbai attacks was stalled at a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.
"Why can’t we complete the trial? It’s absolutely unacceptable. This is exactly what we are struggling for. President Putin has said it. President Xi has said it," he said.
Sharif, 68, was ousted from power when the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office for life following his involvement in the Panama Papers case. In February, the apex court also disqualified Sharif as the head of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Citing the military and judiciary establishment, Sharif further said: "You can't run a country if you have two or three parallel governments. This has to stop. There can only be one government - the constitutional one."
The relations between the military and the Sharif government were at its lowest ebb in October 2016 when the latter told the former to act against home grown militant groups or face international isolation.
The Mumbai attack case has entered into the 10th year but none of its suspects in Pakistan has been punished yet, showing that the case had never been in the priority list of the country that appears to be keen to put it under the carpet.
A number of Pakistani witnesses, both official and private, testified and provided evidence against the seven accused, but the Pakistani authorities have been insisting on sending Indian witnesses for reaching a verdict in the case.