Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday said Pakistan’s military and civilian leadership are on the same page regarding peace initiatives with India, but added that he does not see any progress in dialogue on core issues as India is only interested in discussing their own problems.
Giving an interview to an Indian news channel, India Today, the former military ruler asserted that military is “200 per-cent” on board regarding the peace process with India but “India only wants to talk about its own issues like Mumbai and Pathankot. It wants to dominate and bully Pakistan”.
“India derailed the peace process every time and it only wants to discuss terrorism,” Musharraf said.
Answering a question about Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar, Musharraf termed Azhar a terrorist because he is “involved in terrorist activities across Pakistan”, but repeated his stance that whoever is fighting in Kashmir is a freedom fighter.
When asked about the revelations of David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American who allegedly helped plan 2008 Mumbai attacks, the former president said he cannot comment on any of Headley’s statements until he is in Indian intelligence’s custody because “he can be manipulated and can be forced to say anything”.
“I don’t believe what he’s saying unless our investigation and intelligence says the same,” Musharraf maintained.
It is pertinent to note here that in December last year Musharraf had told BBC Urdu that those fighting in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) were ‘mujahideen’ and ‘freedom fighters’ and not terrorists as India calls them.
“Considering the atrocities and the treatment meted out to the Muslim majority in IHK, several groups such as Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Muhammad emerged. They were ready to lay down their lives for their Kashmiri brethren, we call them freedom fighters, not Taliban or terrorist,” Musharraf had said.
The former army chief had also claimed that there was no ‘Taliban presence’ in Kashmir.