Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday said the country’s intelligence had used the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror outfit to carry out attacks in India during his tenure. He made the statement in an interview over the phone to Pakistani journalist Nadeem Malik of Hum News for his talk show, according to CNN-News18.
“Jaish is a terrorist organisation. Tough action by the government is a welcome move,” Musharraf said during the interview.
Musharraf also claimed that the JeM had tried to assassinate him twice in December 2003, but he had not taken action against the group during his time as president between 1999 and 2008 as “those times were different”.
“At that time, India and Pakistan were bombing each other’s territory and even I didn’t insist on action against the terrorist organisation,” Musharraf said, adding that the Pakistan intelligence was engaged in the attacks, India Today reported.
JeM and its chief Masood Azhar have been at the centre of the tension between India and Pakistan since the 14 February attack in Pulwama that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers dead. The issue further heated up after the Indian Air Force carried out retaliatory air strikes on a JeM training camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on 26 February. The next day, Pakistan retaliated with its own air strikes, violating Indian airspace.
The Government of India has also shared a dossier with Pakistan with evidence related to JeM’s involvement in the Pulwama suicide attack, in addition to citing a statement by the group claiming responsibility for the attack. Pakistan, however, continues to maintain that JeM was not responsible for the bombing.
Azhar is accused of orchestrating various attacks in India, including the 2001 attack on Parliament.
Musharraf’s remarks come a day after spokesperson for the Pakistani military Major General Asif Ghafoor said JeM does not exist in Pakistan. Before Musharraf, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had also admitted that the terror outfit’s chief was in Pakistan.