Nawaz Sharif: Pak “Violated” Lahore Agreement Signed With India In 1999

Published on: May 28, 2024 21:30 IST

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday admitted that Islamabad had “violated” an agreement with India, signed by him and ex-prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999, in an apparent reference to the Kargil misadventure orchestrated by Gen Pervez Musharraf.

“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,” 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.

Following a historic summit, Nawaz Sharif and Atal Bihari Vajpayee signed the Lahore Declaration on February 21, 1999. The agreement, which envisioned peace and stability between the two countries, signaled a breakthrough. However, a few months later, Pakistani intrusion in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir led to the Kargil conflict.

Sharif also revealed that President Bill Clinton had offered Pakistan USD 5 billion to deter it from conducting nuclear tests, but he refused the offer. “Had a person like (former prime minister) Imran Khan been in my seat, he would have accepted Clinton’s offer,” Sharif said, coinciding with Pakistan’s 26th anniversary of its first nuclear tests.

Sharif, 74, spoke about his removal from the office of prime minister in 2017 on what he called a false case by then Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar. He asserted that all cases against him were false, while the cases against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf founder Imran Khan were true.

He also discussed the role of former ISI chief Gen Zahirul Islam in toppling his government in 2017 to bring Imran Khan into power. He challenged Imran Khan to deny that he was not launched by the ISI.

“I ask Imran not to blame us (for being patronized by the army) and tell whether Gen Islam had talked about bringing the PTI into power,” he said, adding that Khan would sit at the feet of the military establishment.

Sharif recounted 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.

Sharif also praised his younger brother, 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.

Sharif expressed his commitment to renewing efforts to strengthen the party after assuming the office of the PML-N President.

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