Pakistan’s former president General Pervez Musharraf has said he has always favoured “action” in Kashmir and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) is “our biggest force to suppress Indian Army” in the region.
In an interview to Pakistani TV channel ARY News, Musharraf, who is currently in exile in Dubai, said he was the biggest supporter of Lashkar and its founder Hafiz Saeed.
““Yes, I am a liberal but that does not mean I am against religious groups. I am the biggest supporter of Lashkar and I know they like me and JuD (Jamaat-ud-Dawa) also likes me,” Musharraf said. He also answered “yes” on being asked if he likes Saeed, adding, “I have met him.”
“Yes they (LeT) are involved in Kashmir. In Kashmir, it is between us and India. I was always in favour of action in Kashmir and they (LeT) are the biggest force to suppress Indian army in Kashmir,” he said, railing against the fact that “India got them declared as terrorists by partnering with the United States.”
Saeed who was designated a terrorist by the United Nations carried a $10 million bounty announced by the US on his head after the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed over 160 people. Musharraf claimed Saeed was not involved in the attack because he “himself denied the charges” of being the mastermind.
The LeT was banned by Pakistan in 2002 and it was, in fact, the Musharraf government that banned the outfit. When asked about the ban, Musharraf said that he wanted to give the peace process with India a chance, referring to his “four point formula” for resolution of Kashmir issue.
“I didn’t know him much frankly then,” he said, implying that he shouldn’t have acted against LeT.
The former president has earlier too sided with Saeed, who was released from house arrest on November 25 after Islamabad failed to submit any proof against him.
When the Lashkar and JuD chief was just 90 days into his 10-month detainment, Musharraf had asked then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to free him and claimed that his JuD was a “very fine NGO” that is engaged in relief work.
“In my opinion they are against Taliban (in Pakistan), they did not commit any terrorism in Pakistan or anywhere else. So they should be dealt separately,” he was quoted telling a television channel. “We remain confused on terrorism, like we are confused in respect to JuD and Hafiz Saeed,” he was quoted as saying by a news agency.