LONDON: Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf has declared that he is the greatest supporter of proscribed militant group Lashkar-e-Tayeba (LeT).
The declaration of support for LeT, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its chief Hafiz Saeed, who was recently released from house arrest, was made during a discussion pertaining to Musharraf’s recently announced 23-party grand alliance on a private TV channel programme recently.
During the talk-show, the host pointed out that it would be interesting to see Musharraf, with his ‘enlightened moderation’ and liberal outlook sitting next to leaders of religious parties such as Majlis-i-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen, Sunni Ittehad Council and Pakistan Sunni Tehreek.
“You are describing me as a liberal. Yes I am. These are my thoughts,” the former president said. “That does not mean I am against all religious parties. I am the greatest supporter of LeT and I know they [LeT and JuD] are fond of me,” he said.
When asked if he liked Hafiz Saeed, the former army chief said he did and that he had met him. “Because 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,” Musharraf said.
The former president went on to deny that LeT was involved in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai – an allegation levelled by India and supported by Washington.
During the interview, the former president said Washington’s statement following Saeed’s release last week was an insult to Pakistan’s sovereignty. “This language is offensive and insults Pakistan’s sovereignty. I would never accept this,” Musharraf said.
He said democracy in Pakistan was not under threat but required tailoring in keeping with the country’s requirements.
“We need to make amendments to the system, political restructuring, electoral reforms and checks and balances. We need to tailor democracy and the parliamentary system to Pakistan’s requirements and in this, the most important matter is the army,” he said, adding that the army needed to be included in the checks and balances.
Originally published in