NEW DELHI: Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has admitted that he used Jaish-e-Mohammed—which has claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama suicide bomb attack-- to carry out attacks in India during his tenure.
After taking over in a bloodless coup in 1999, Musharraf ruled Pakistan till 2008. He now lives in exile in Dubai and faces several cases, including of “high treason”, for suspending the constitution in 2007 and jailing several judges.
Speaking on phone to a Pakistani television channel, the former strongman, now 75, lauded the Imran Khan government’s recent move to ban the Masood Azhar-led JeM and seize its assets. “This is a good move. I have always said that the JeM is a terrorist organisation and they had carried out a suicide attack in an attempt to assassinate me. Action should be taken against them,” he was quoted as saying.
The JeM has conducted several high-profile attacks in India, including the attack on the Kashmir legislative Assembly and the Parliament in October and December 2001. Under tremendous international pressure, Musharraf had banned five terrorist outfits, including the JeM, and arrested its leaders in January 2002. But they were all freed within three months by courts which claimed that the government had not provided enough evidence.
Asked why he had not initiated action against the group, which had also attacked his motorcade in December 2003, Musharraf said: "Those were different times. Our intelligence men were involved in a tit-for-tat between India and Pakistan... This was continuing at that time and amid all of this, no major action was taken against the JeM. Also I did not insist."