Lahore: In deeply embarrassing remarks for Pakistan, former President Pervez Musharraf has acknowledged that his country supported and trained terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the 1990s for fanning militancy in Kashmir. The 72-year-old former military ruler also asserted that terror leaders like Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri were Pakistan’s “heroes" but later became “villains".
“In the 1990s the freedom struggle began in Kashmir...At that time LeT and 11 or 12 other organisations were formed. We supported them and trained them as they were fighting in Kashmir at the cost of their lives," Musharraf said in a recent interview to Dunya News. The former army chief’s remarks came while responding to a question about demand for action against LeT’s Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. He said Saeed and Lakhvi-type people enjoyed the status of heroes at that time.
“The Kashmiri freedom fighters including Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi were our heroes at that time. Later on the religious militancy turned into terrorism. Now they (referring to militants in Pakistan) are killing their own people here and this should be controlled and stopped," he said.
Asked whether Saeed and Lakhvi should also be “controlled and stopped", Musharraf said, “No comments." Musharraf said that “religious militancy" was started by Pakistan which brought militants from all over the world to fight against Soviet forces. He said in 1979 Pakistan was in favour of religious militancy. “We trained Taliban and sent them to fight against Russia. Taliban, Haqqani, Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri were our heroes then. Later they became villains," he said, adding that people need to understand the whole environment at that time.
Musharraf’s admissions come as India has been repeatedly stating that Pakistan has a hand in fanning militancy in India and harbouring terrorists for anti-India activities. PTI