New Delhi: Former military dictator of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf said this week that he is the “biggest supporter” of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT) and he’s aware they “like” him too.
When asked by Pakistan’s AryTV if he’s similarly appreciative of LeT’s founder Hafiz Saeed, Musharraf nodded, saying Saeed “is involved in Kashmir” and he “supports” that involvement.
“I am the biggest supporter of LeT and I know they like me and JuD (Jamaat-ud-Dawa) also likes me,” said Musharraf, referring to both groups founded by Saeed. JuD is the LeT’s ‘charitable’ wing.
Musharraf claimed Saeed was not involved in the Mumbai attack in 2008 because Saeed “himself denied the charges” of being the attacks’ mastermind.
The LeT is banned in Pakistan since 2002 and it was, in fact, the Musharraf government that banned the group. When reminded of that fact, Musharraf said he didn’t know much about Saeed at the time. He implied that he wouldn’t have banned LeT if he had known more about Saeed.
“We had banned LeT because the situation was different at that time. We were moving towards peace and as such I thought we should reduce ‘mujahids’ (religious warrior) and increase political dialogue and frankly I had very less knowledge about him,” said Musharraf.
“I was always in favor of action in Kashmir and of suppressing the Indian Army in Kashmir and they (LeT) are the biggest force. India got them declared as terrorists by partnering with US,” said Musharraf.
The former military dictator was also reminded that he calls himself a liberal and a moderate. The interviewer wondered if that was at odds with Musharraf’s admiration for LeT. He said it isn’t.
“Yes I am liberal and moderate… these are my thoughts but that doesn’t mean I am against all religious leaders,” said Musharraf.