Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has admitted that Pakistan sought to undermine the Afghan government when he was in power because then president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai “helped India stab Pakistan in the back”.
In an interview with The Guardian, which was published on Friday, Musharraf said, “In President Karzai’s times, yes, indeed, he was damaging Pakistan and therefore we were working against his interest. Obviously we had to protect our own interest.”
He added, however, that now the time had come to “totally cooperate” with Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president since September.
“But now President Ashraf Ghani has come and he is trying to restore balance in Afghanistan. We must totally cooperate with him.”
The former president also called for an end to the backing of militant “proxies” in Afghanistan.
The Guardian reports that for Musharraf, the most welcome development was Ghani’s decision this month to send six army cadets for training at Pakistan’s officer academy in the town of Abbottabad. “Karzai infuriated both Musharraf and Ashfaq Kayani, his successor as army chief, by spurning offers to help train Afghanistan’s embryonic army. Instead, Karzai sent cadets to India, where Musharraf believes they were “indoctrinated” against Pakistan,” the article states.
‘ISI cultivated Taliban to counter Indian action against Pakistan’
Meanwhile, the former military chief also said that the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) cultivated the Afghan Taliban after 2001. “Obviously we were looking for some groups to counter this Indian action against Pakistan,” he said. “That is where the intelligence work comes in. Intelligence being in contact with Taliban groups. Definitely they were in contact, and they should be,” Musharraf said.
“Pakistan had its own proxies, India had its proxies, which is unhealthy. I do admit this, it is most unhealthy. It is not in favour of Afghanistan, or Pakistan or India. It must stop,” he added.
Further, spoke about India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), claiming it backs regional separatists in an effort to break up Pakistan. “The RAW of India, the ISI of Pakistan have always been fighting against each other since our independence. That is how it continued, it continues now also. It must stop, but it can only stop when leaderships on both sides show the will to resolve disputes and stop confrontation in favour of compromise and accommodation.”
He went on to speak about the ‘western bias’ towards India, saying, “India is the greatest democracy, promoter of human rights and democratic culture’? All bullshit”. “There is no human rights. The religion itself is anti-human rights. In the rural areas, if even the shadow of an untouchable goes on a pandit, that man can be killed.”
The former military ruler talks about life in Pakistan, where he is embroiled in a treason case, and how he misses his old life.
The articles adds, interestingly: “But he says his problems are nearly behind him, and that he has the army to thank.
“I’m very proud of my institution. Whatever they are doing to help me, to protect the honour and dignity of their ex-chief, I’m proud of that,” Musharraf said.