We did train militant groups to fight against India: Musharraf

October 5th, 2010 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez Musharraf London, Oct 5 (IANS) Pakistan had trained militant groups to fight against India and “the government turned a blind eye because they wanted India to discuss Kashmir”, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has said in a candid admission.

In an interview to Der Spiegel, Musharraf said militant groups “were indeed formed” to fight India in Kashmir.

He said: “The government turned a blind eye because they wanted India to discuss Kashmir.”

To a query on whether the Pakistani security forces trained the militants, Musharraf said: “The West was ignoring the resolution of the Kashmir issue, which is the core issue of Pakistan. We expected the West - especially the United States and important countries like Germany — to resolve the Kashmir issue. Has Germany done that?”

The 67-year-old former Pakistan army chief, who masterminded a coup in October 1999 and overthrew the Nawaz Sharif government, pointed out that whenever Pakistan was in turmoil, “everybody looks to the army. But I would suggest that the times of military coups in Pakistan are over”.

On the present government in Pakistan, he said that “everybody can see what they are doing”.

“Pakistan is experiencing a deep economic decline — in other areas, as well. Law and order are in jeopardy, extremism is on the rise and there is political turmoil. The non-performance of an elected government is the issue.”

On present Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the man who succeeded Musharraf, the former president said: “I made him chief of the army, because I thought that he was the best man for the job.”

To a query on his political future, Musharraf said: “No risk, no gain. We unfortunately have a culture of vendetta and vindictiveness in Pakistan. But there is no case of corruption or fraud or anything against me at the moment.”

“My political opponents, especially Nawaz Sharif, would love to create a case against me - that I am corrupt or have committed fraud or some such. They do their best to achieve that, but they haven’t succeeded. Even if they did, I would reply in court. Risks need to be taken.”

He made it clear that he wasn’t leading “a hermit’s life” in Britain.

“I meet people here and in Dubai and receive accurate feedback. I launched my Facebook page eight months ago and today I have more than 315,000 fans. And hundreds of Pakistanis called into a TV show in which I collected money for the flood victims. They donated $3.5 million. Do you think they are doing this because they hate me?”

He lamented that the West blamed Pakistan “for everything”.

“Everybody is interested in strategic deals with India, but Pakistan is always seen as the rogue”.

He strongly criticised disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan and called him a “characterless man”.

On Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, he said: “This capability is our pride and it will never be compromised.”

To a query on whether he might meet the same fate as that of Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated on her return to Pakistan, he said: “Yes, that is a risk, but it won’t stop me. I am happy here in London. I am earning good money, but Pakistan is my country.”

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