News Analysis |
Former President General Pervez Musharraf has said that he is the greatest supporter of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET). While giving a television interview to news anchor Waseem Badami, Musharraf said that he supports the organization for putting more pressure on the Indian Army in Kashmir.
The former artillery-general while responding to questions on Hafiz Saeed and LET said:” I am the greatest supporter of LET and I know they [LET and JUD] are fond of me.” He said that he supports Saeed and has also met him.
Interestingly, it was General Musharraf, who as President of Pakistan banned LET way back in 2002. However, he gave the reason behind his stance. “I have always been in favour of action in Kashmir and I have always been in favour of pressuring the Indian army in Kashmir. This is the biggest force and they have been declared terrorists by India and the US jointly,” said Musharraf.
Washington had said: “Pakistan’s inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and Pakistan’s global reputation.”
The once all-powerful President was often berated for rolling back the armed struggle in Kashmir during his tenure. However, he has been vocally defending Pakistan’s stated position on Kashmir at international platforms, especially in the Indian media.
His interview is being shared and reported upon in India just days after Hafiz Saeed was released from house arrest, much to the annoyance of India. Delhi alleges Saeed and his organization of carrying out the gory attacks in Mumbai in 2008. Musharraf denied the allegation during his interview with Waseem Badami.
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Musharraf criticized Washington for its statement on Hafiz Saeed. The US State Department had, last week demanded the re-arrest and indictment of Saeed, a man who is a designated terrorist by the US Justice Department.
Interestingly, it was General Musharraf, who as President of Pakistan banned LET way back in 2002. However, he gave the reason behind his stance.
“The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes,” the State Department said in its statement, days after Saeed was released. Musharraf said that the press release was an “insult to Pakistan’s sovereignty.” Washington had said: “Pakistan’s inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and Pakistan’s global reputation.”
This was seen as yet another indication of the US’s support for the Indian narrative vis-à-vis Pakistan. Musharraf retorted and said: “This language is offensive and insults Pakistan’s sovereignty… I would never accept this. Please do not dictate to us; we have to decide on who is heading [and] whether he has to be tried or punished.”
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While there are commentators who say that the government must not buckle under foreign pressure and take on Saeed, some believe that not only will his freedom exacerbate Indo-Pak tensions but will also hurt the country’s narrative regarding its across the board efforts against terrorism and militancy.