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Nawaz Sharif admits Pakistan "violated" 1999 Lahore Agreement with India

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Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif acknowledged on Tuesday that Pakistan had "violated" the Lahore Agreement, which he and then-Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee signed in 1999.

This admission appears to reference the Kargil conflict initiated by General 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 stated during a meeting of the PML-N general council. This meeting marked his election as president of the ruling party, six years after his disqualification by the Supreme Court.

Following a historic summit, Nawaz Sharif and Atal Bihari Vajpayee signed the Lahore Declaration on February 21, 1999. This agreement, which envisioned peace and stability between the two nations, was a significant breakthrough. However, a few months later, the Pakistani incursion into the Kargil district in Jammu and Kashmir led to the Kargil conflict.

"President Bill Clinton had offered Pakistan USD 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," Sharif remarked on the day Pakistan marked the 26th anniversary of its first nuclear tests.

Sharif, 74, discussed his removal from the office of the prime minister in 2017, which he attributed to a false case orchestrated by then Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar. He asserted that all cases against him were baseless, while the cases against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan were legitimate.

He also mentioned the role of former ISI chief Gen Zahirul Islam in toppling his government in 2017 to bring Imran Khan into power. Sharif challenged Imran Khan to deny his association with 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, adding that Khan would "sit at the feet of the military establishment."

The three-time premier recounted receiving a message from Gen Islam in 2014, urging him to resign from the office of prime minister. "When I refused, he threatened to make an example of me," Sharif revealed.

Sharif also commended his younger brother, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, for his unwavering support. "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 strengthening the PML-N after assuming the office of party president.

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