According to the former ruler, the militant groups were formed as a way to focus more international attention on the Kashmir issue as well as bring India back to the negotiating table. While the comments should come as no real surprise as Pakistani government support has been taken for granted by Indian strategists for a while, Musharraf’s statement is the first time a senior figure in Pakistan has admitted government involvement.
Musharraf’s Kashmir comments, as well as his apology for some of the ‘negative actions’ taken during his reign, both come on the heels of the launch of his new political party.
Over at the BBC, Syed Shoaib Hasan provides some insight into whether or not Musharraf’s political re-launch has any hope of success:
“Despite what he and his allies say, Pervez Musharraf remains one of the most unpopular people in Pakistan and is unlikely to be going home any time soon.
He is blamed by the masses for most of the country’s problems and is top of the hit list of most jihadi groups. Many of his former enemies are now in powerful positions.
That is not to say the former military ruler does not have some supporters but they are primarily among the affluent and Westernised urban elite – a miniscule constituency that almost never votes in general elections.”
“After 9/11, they (the US) fought the Taliban instead of strengthening the Pashtuns who could have taken on the radical Taliban.
Now, you try to negotiate with so-called `moderate Taliban’, but there is no such thing as a moderate Taliban. There are Taliban and Pashtuns. But as I have always said: All Taliban are Pashtun, but not all Pashtun people are Taliban. Again, you should reinforce the ancient Pashtun clans who are not ideologically aligned with the Taliban to govern Afghanistan and to fight the Taliban. That’s my strong advice.”
The Times of India is also reporting that Musharraf’s re-launch is receiving a cold response at home and abroad.