Musharraf equates Bal Thackeray with Hafiz Saeed, calls Osama a Hero

In an interview to a Pakistani channel, Pakistan’s former president General Pervez Musharraf made scathing comments about Bal Thackeray and Pakistan’s support to extremist outfits in the past. Haqqani is our hero of 1980s & Osama was our hero. Yes, CIA’s as well. (al-Qaida chief Ayman) al-Zawahiri was our hero,” he added while referring to the Pakistan introduced religious militancy from 1979.

Comparing Hafiz Saeed with RSS and Shiv Sena, former Pakistan president Parvez Musharraf said that those demanding action against Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief in his country were toeing in the Indian line.

He said Afghan and Kashmiri mujahideen were their heroes in the 1990s, but the situation has now changed while referring to Saeed “I do not want to discuss this (Saeed) issue,” Musharraf shot back at his interviewer on a popular Pakistani TV channel on Saturday night. “Since India is going after this, we are also following them.”

Musharraf rantingly asked the interviewer to ascertain what RSS was doing in India. “They do not play cricket with us. You saw what happened with (Pakistan cricket board chief) Shahryar Khan,” he said. “The face of (ex-Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud) Kasuri’s book release organiser was blackened. Ghulam Ali’s concert was banned and he was thrown out.”

“This is what is happening there. Are we catching any Sena leader? Was not Bal Thackeray a terrorist… did anybody catch him… a serving Army colonel was involved in the Samjautha blast in which 100 (sic) Pakistanis were killed. You are talking about Saeed, give us that Colonel,” he said.

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He cited PM Narendra Modi and his Cabinet’s presentations to the RSS brass to draw a link between Shiv Sena’s protests against Pakistan’s and BJP’s parent organisation.

He cited Pakistan’s support for the US-backed Afghan war and said the atmosphere changed after 1979 when Islamabad introduced religious militancy in its favour to throw the Soviets out. “We brought mujahideen from around the world. We trained the Taliban… and sent them in. They were our heroes. (Afghan warlord Jalaluddin) Haqqani is our hero of 1980s. Osama (bin Laden) was our hero. Yes, CIA’s as well. (al-Qaida chief Ayman) al-Zawahiri was our hero,” he acknowledged.

But he added that the atmosphere has changed now. “The hero has become a villain.”

He said a similar thing was replicated in Kashmir in the 1990s. “A freedom struggle started there in the 1990s. They (Kashmiris) were killed badly. Indian Army killed them, they came to Pakistan. We gave them heroes’ reception.”

Musharraf acknowledged Pakistan trained and supported Kashmiri rebels. “They were mujahideen who would fight the Indian Army for their rights. LeT was formed along with 10-12 such groups,” he said. He called these groups their heroes who were putting their lives at stake. “Now this has converted into terrorism.”

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