JeM has backing of Pakistani intelligence, says Musharraf

Pakistani terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JM) has been actively supported by the state intelligence organisation Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and was instrumental in carrying out attacks on Indian soil, former Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf has said.

The former president also acknowledged that all earlier terrorist attacks on India, including those during his tenure as head of state, had the backing of Pakistani intelligence agency.
In a telephonic interview with Pakistan-based journalist Nadeem Malik, Musharraf welcomed the action being taken against Jaish-e-Mohammad, which, he said, had even carried out two assassination attempts on him.
A 2-minute clip of the interview was put out on Twitter on Malik’s handle on 5 March.
Musharraf also said suicide bomber had attempted to assassinate him in December 2003 at Jhanda Chichi. He said that it was mere fortune that he wasn’t killed in the attempt.
“The attacker pressed the button a few seconds too late and I had crossed the bridge by that time,” Musharraf said, adding that the action against the JeM was a right action and that it should have been done earlier.
Responding to a question as to why he himself had not taken any action against the Jaish leadership and the organisation when he was in power, Musharraf suggested that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were using the Jaish to carry out bombings in India.
“Those were different times. 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). This was continuing at that time and amid all of this, no major action was taken against the Jaish. And I also did not insist,” Musharraf said.
Nearly 10 days after the IAF action against JeM terror camp at Balakot, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government ordered detention of terrorist Masood Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf Asghar and 43 others linked to banned outfits in the country, following pressure from countries worldwide.
The order for their detention was issued on Tuesday after a high-level meeting to review the National Action Plan (NAP).
Pakistan is also facing action by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is nudging it to stop terror funding and to act against the terror organisations operating on its soil. A failure to abide by the FATF demands would see Pakistan moved from the ‘grey’ list to the ‘black’ list, making it even more difficult for the country to get funding from international organisations.
JeM chief Masood Azhar Alvi, however, remains defiant. Hours after Pakistan announced the arrest of key Jaish-e-Mohammed leaders, Azhar issued a message warning the country against efforts to rein in the jihadist group. The speech was released on Jaish-encrypted chat platforms early in the evening of 6 March.
“Fear god,” Azhar said in the speech. “And stop persecuting the mosques, madrassas and mujahideen. Remember, that when a Muslim flees the battle against the hypocrites, the wrath of Allah is upon him.”
“Fear not only the world community; fear God too. God can protect you from the world community, but it cannot protect you from god,” he goes on.
Large parts of Azhar’s speech are devoted to mocking India and chiding Pakistan’s politicians for cracking down on the Jaish.
In a mockery of India’s action against the terrorist that killed 40 of its security personnel, Azhar spoke of his captive days when he said he and his follower were “tortured for many days.” “When we were beaten,” he said. “We would try to suppress our screams. Then, one experienced prisoner told us we were making a mistake by doing this: if we screamed loudly, he said, the jailors would often ease up, fearful of killing you. I’ll share a story: we had a comrade with a particularly loud voice. As soon as a laathi fell near him, he let out such a shriek that the jailor ran away.”
“Today,” Azhar said. “This formula has been adopted by India: it is getting thrashed, but screaming so loudly that our leaders have started quaking.”