Pervez Musharraf
© Getty
Former Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf

Comment: This is probably as close we'll get to governments admitting they use terrorists as proxy military forces. And make no mistake; Pakistan is NOT the exception...


Facing global isolation for harbouring terrorists, the establishment in Pakistan seems to have gone into a tizzy. While the civilian leadership is busy defending "unwell" Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar who "cannot even leave his home" the powerful Pakistan Army says there is no Jaish in Pakistan.

And even as Pakistan continues to deny the JeM links to the Pulwama terror attack and acknowledge the evidence handed over by India, the country had more international embarrassment on Wednesday after former Army Chief and President Pervez Musharraf admitted that the ISI has been using the terror outfit to carry out attacks in India during his tenure.

"Our intelligence men were involved in a tit-for-tat between India and Pakistan. They were conducting bomb blasts in Pakistan and we were getting it done there (in India)," he said. The exiled former leader made the revelations while talking to a Pakistani journalist for a talk show.

Musharraf's admission, which is not at all surprising, is however significant, as he himself had survived assassination attempts by JeM when he was in power.

Musharraf had then ordered a crackdown on the JeM, but admitted that no major action was taken against the Jaish and he did not insist on it.

The former leader's admission revealing the deep running ties between the ISI and JeM comes even as the military leadership in Pakistan continues to shield the terror outfit. Even on Wednesday, Major General Asif Ghafoor, the spokesperson of the Pakistan Army told CNN that the outfit doesn't even exist in the country.

"First of all, the claim was not made from within Pakistan since JeM does not exist in the country. It was proscribed by Pakistan and the United Nations," Ghafoor said.

Ironically, this was just a day after Pakistani authorities rounded up some 44 people for having links with proscribed organisations, including Hamad Azhar, the son of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar and a close relative Mufti Abdul Rauf.

Ghafoor however admitted the existence of the JeM training camps in Balakot but insisted that there was no human casualty nor did the airstrikes damage any infrastructure.

While the Pakistan Army wants the world to believe JeM doesn't exist in the country, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi just a few day ago had told the same channel that Azhar was very much in Pakistan, but he was unwell, to the point that he cannot even leave his home.

Later in another interview, this time with the BBC, Qureshi even said that JeM never claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack, adding that "people here" are in touch with the JeM leadership.