Former president Pervez Musharraf said he does not plan on visiting India ever again, while speaking to The Indian Expressvia phone from Dubai.
Musharraf, who was denied a visa by the Indian government, said he does not think it was because New Delhi believes he was the main person behind the Kargil crisis. Musharraf said he had been reassured that he would get the visa, before the denial came. “I have no words to explain my disappointment,” Musharraf said. “My hopes have been washed away by your govt … I think it shows India lacks confidence to face me,” he said.
Pointing out that he had met both former PM Vajpayee and incumbent premier Manmohan Singh after Kargil, the former army chief said he did not believe his role in the war prompted the move. “I mean, that’s a very silly reason … all this rapprochement that I initiated has been washed down the drain. Why was I allowed to come three times between Kargil and now if that is the case?”
Musharraf said he has yet to be informed of the official reason for the denial of his visa. “I think the denial has come from either India’s interior ministry or foreign ministry. If it is the interior ministry, then they may have been wary of the law and order situation or my comments on terrorism and Kashmir perhaps. Or could it be what I said on Muslim extremism being on the rise in India? I frankly don’t know.”
Even his comments on India’s role in Balochistan are not new, he said. “I have been saying this for quite some time. If you read WikiLeaks, you will know … It is not based on hearsay. Nawab Akbar Bugti’s grandson Brahamdagh Bugti is being supported by India, I have known that for years and I told Bush about it. I told Karzai about it. What’s new now?”
Musharraf said: “I believe in my honour and dignity. When Indian and Pakistani forces were eyeball-to-eyeball in 2002, I went to attend the Saarc summit in Kathmandu, for which I was permitted to fly over the Indian airspace … I chose to route my plane via Beijing instead.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2010.