NEW DELHI :
Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has admitted to training Kashmiris in his country as “mujahideen" to fight the Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a video clip that has gone viral in India, Musharraf is heard saying that “Kashmiris who came to Pakistan received a hero's reception here. We used to train them and support them. We considered them as mujahideens who will fight with the Indian Army. Then, various terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba rose in this period. They (jihadi terrorists) were our heroes."
According to a PTI report, the video is an old one dating back to 2015. But it seems to have got a new lease of life when it was posted on Twitter by Hamid Mandokhail from Quetta.
The video buttresses India’s claims that Pakistan has been luring young Kashmiri youth and training them to become anti-India terrorists. It comes amid a war of words between India and Pakistan over New Delhi's move to rescind the special status bestowed on Kashmir by the Indian Constitution. India's argument has been that the special status was hindering the development of the region which in turn was increasing the sense of disaffection and alienation among the youth.
According to Musharraf, in 1979, Pakistan introduced "religious militancy" in Afghanistan to benefit it, and to push the Soviets out of the country.
"We brought mujahideens from all over the world, we trained them and supplied weapons to them. We trained the Taliban, sent them in. They were our heroes. Haqqani was our hero. Osama bin Laden was our hero. Ayman al-Zawahiri was our hero. Then the global environment changed. The world started viewing things differently. Our heroes were turned into villains."
Musharraf is currently facing treason charges in Pakistan for suspending the Constitution in 2007, a punishable offence for which he was indicted in 2014. Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, has been declared a fugitive in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case and the Red Mosque cleric killing case. At present he is living in self-imposed exile in Dubai. The former Army chief left for Dubai in 2016 for medical treatment and has not returned since, citing security and health reasons.