In an exclusive interview with NDTV, former president Pervez Musharaf said that anyone fighting in Kashmir for freedom is a mujahid.
Speaking about Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), he said “from our point of view, anyone who is fighting in Indian Kashmir is a mujahid fighting for freedom, fighting for the rights of the people of Kashmir”.
Defending LeT Musharraf said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The Indian Army is killing civilians and LeT is fighting against the Indian Army, he said. “Isn’t the Indian Army also a terrorist then?”
Regarding his statements about Pakistan training militant groups to fight in Kashmir, he said he did not mean that they were trained during his tenure, because he had been just a brigadier then. “Lakshar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammad and others came into being in the 1990s. I was nothing in 1991; I was a brigadier”
Musharraf said that these organisations had great public sympathy when they came into being, with people volunteering from Pakistan to go to Kashmir to fight the Indian Army. “The Line of Control is so porous that even I even I could cross it, even at this age,” he said.
“We were very close to finalising the Kashmir issue. Manmohan Singh had agreed to my four-point formula,” Musharraf said. “I should have remained army chief for another five years”. Other than the Kashmir dispute, Musharraf said that the Siachen and Sir Creek issues had nearly been resolved during the talks and the drafts “could have been signed any day”.
“NRO is one of the major blunders of my life,” Musharraf said during his interview regarding the National Reconciliation Ordinance mishap of his time.
Speaking about his political adversaries, he said that he held Nawaz Sharif as very close to the Taliban.
Regarding his handling of the judiciary, Musharraf said that he regretted his confrontation. “The confrontation with the judiciary is what dented my reputation”. However, he expressed his opinion that the army should be given weight in national policies.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2010.
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