Never ordered harbouring of Osama: Musharraf
LALIT K JHA/PTI
Washington, May 5: Former President Pervez Musharraf today said harbouring Osama bin Laden in Pakistan was not ordered by him though the al Qaeda leader's presence in the country does indicate "incompetence" on the part of the Army, the ISI in particular.
Musharraf categorially denied the accusation that he as president had ordered for the safe hiding of bin Laden, who was found living in a garrison city, close to a military academy in the heart of Pakistan.
It was Musharraf, under whose presidency in 2001, Pakistan had joined the US-led war on terror in Afghanistan with the ultimate aim of hunting down bin Laden and other top al Qaeda leaders.
"(The accusation of) hiding him I cannot accept, and I'm very, very sure it was not being done or ordered by me. And knowing the army, that could not have been the case. Yes, incompetence, I will have to accept, yes. Yes, indeed," Musharraf told the Fox News in an interview.
Musharraf argued that there was no reason for the Pakistani establishment to hide bin Laden, who himself was one of the enemies of Pakistan.
"Let me tell you when you say that is why they may have hidden a person who has declared war on Pakistan, a person who was involved or his organisation was involved in many of the militant attacks in Pakistan which have killed hundreds, if not thousands of people," he said.
He said the military establishment has been fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda for Pakistan and they certainly do not want those organisations to violate the sovereignty of the country.
"So people may be disliking the US, but that doesn't mean that their own enemy will be harboured by the army and ISI which has suffered at their hands," Musharraf said.
Musharraf described Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of the warlords leading the Haqqani network, as the son of a great revolutionary who fought the Soviets.
He also said that Pakistan is not using the Haqqani network as a proxy against India.
"I don't think Haqqani is being used as a proxy against India... I can't imagine they are supporting the Haqqani group to fight you across the border. I don't think that is true," Musharraf said in response to a question.
"In India there are other groups. And they are involved in India. And there is great sentiment in Pakistan to join in these groups and go across the border into Kashmir and fight the Indian army but I don't see them involved in that," he said.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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