Former Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf has in an interview said that the Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammad was instrumental in carrying out attacks on Indian soil during his tenure as head of the state.
In a telephonic interview given to Pakistan-based journalist Nadeem Malik, Musharraf welcomed the action being taken against the Jaish-e-Mohammad and said that it was the same organisation that had carried out two assassination attempts on him when he was president of Pakistan. A 2-minute clip of the interview was put out on Twitter on Malik’s handle on March 5, 2019.
“This is a good move. I have always said that the JeM is a terrorist organisation and they only had carried out a suicide attack in an attempt to assassinate me. Action should be taken against them. I am happy the government is taking a tough stand against them,” he said. During his tenure as president, Musharraf had survived two assassination attempts.
A suicide bomber had attempted to assassinate General Pervez Musharraf in December 2003 at Jhanda Chichi in Rawalpindi. Recalling the incident, Musharraf said that it was fortunate that he wasn’t killed in the attempt.
“The attacker pressed the button a few seconds too late and I had crossed the bridge by that time,” Musharraf said, adding that the action against the JeM was a right action and that it should have been done earlier.
Responding to a question as to why he himself had not taken any action against the Jaish leadership and the organisation when he was in power, Musharraf suggested that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were using the Jaish to carry out bombings in India.
— Nadeem Malik (@nadeemmalik) March 5, 2019
“Those were different times. Our intelligence men were involved in a tit-for-tat between India and Pakistan. They were conducting bomb blasts in Pakistan and we were getting it done there (in India). This was continuing at that time and amid all of this, no major action was taken against the Jaish. And I also did not insist,” Musharraf said.
On Tuesday, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government ordered the detention of terrorist Masood Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf Asghar and 43 others linked to banned outfits in the country.
The order for their detention was issued on Tuesday after a high-level meeting to review the National Action Plan (NAP).
The Pakistan government’s move comes barely 10 days after an Indian air force strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad training facility at Balakot in Pakistan on February 26.
Pakistan is on a tight deadline with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) nudging it to stop terror funding and to act against the terror organisations operating on its soil. In case Pakistan fails to keep its promises, it might find itself being moved from the ‘grey’ list to the ‘black’ list, making it even more difficult for Pakistan to get funding from international organisations such as the World Bank.
The Indian Air Force strike at Balakot had come barely 13 days after a suicide bombing at Pulwama had killed 40 CRPF jawans.