I’m Lashkar’s biggest supporter and know they like me, says Pervez Musharraf

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The former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf has said this week that he likes Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed and is the “biggest supporter” of the Lashkar-e-Taiba as it involved in targeting the Indian Army in Kashmir. The former military dictator, who is currently living in self-exile in Dubai since leaving Pakistan following being charged with sedition, made the comments during the time he was appearing on a TV talk show late on Tuesday night.

While replying to a question on how the man who had once followed the policy of “enlightened moderation” was associating with hardline Islamic groups, Musharraf said that “I’m the biggest supporter of Lashkar-e-Taiba and I know the LeT and JuD people like me”. When he was asked that if he likes the founder of LeT Saeed, Musharraf said, “Yes, I have met him, even recently…I have always been in favor of action in Kashmir, and I’ve always been in their favor, that in Kashmir we must pressure the Indian Army and this (LeT) is the biggest force.” He also added that the LeT “was not involved” in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The attack on India’s financial hub was carried by a LeT team of 10 people, and later the Pakistan officially accepted the conspiracy behind the attacks was planned in its country in 2009 and arrested seven people for the same, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. “It is the requirement of the day, you must do everything in light of the reality of Pakistan. I am liberal and moderate, these are my thoughts but that doesn’t mean I’m against all religious people,” he added. Weeks after a terror attack on the Indian Parliament, the Musharraf’s government had banned the LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed in January 2002.

The former President claimed India and the US got the LeT “declared terrorists”. “Yes, they are involved in Kashmir and in Kashmir, it is between we and India,” he added. “The situation was different at that time. My vision was that we were moving towards peace, they (India) were moving toward my four-point agenda (for resolving the Kashmir issue), let us reduce mujahideen and increase political…” Musharraf said when asked about why he had banned the LeT in 2002. The former President also expressed a recent White House statement calling on Pakistan to arrest Saeed and act against him as “offensive”.

“This is very offensive language and an insult to Pakistan’s sovereignty. I would never accept this language and I would have said, ‘Please don’t dictate to us. We are in charge here, we decide on who is the LeT head, whether he has to be tried, whether he has to be punished. It is our decision,” Musharraf claimed.

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