New Delhi: In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has now backtracked on his comments on Pakistan training Kashmiri militants. He says the ISI did not train Kashmiri militants, but admits they got shelter in Pakistan. Musharraf also said groups like Hizbul and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen were born in Kashmir. He also claims that half of Pakistan wants him to return to politics.
CNN-IBN: Given the back channel talks on Kashmir when you were president and the progress made, do you believe a resolution is possible today?
Pervez Musharraf: Kashmir is a tough nut to crack. I've been saying it needs sincerity on both sides by leaders and government on both sides. It needs flexibility by both sides. Neither of sides can think of giving everything or taking everything. It has to be give and take. So what is required is the boldness to face the agitation in your own backyard. Definitely there will be groups on both sides in Pakistan and India to agitate against the government for being sold out or given up whatever, which should be accepted in the larger interest of the large majority in both the countries. Therefore the leadership fails because they think they will politically loose if they agreed to the middle ground. They will have obviously to give something to the other side. Both the sides should give something to the other to meet in the middle somewhere. It's a tough nut to crack but again I would say it's a great demand from leadership on both sides.
CNN-IBN: Do you think that the current military leadership in Pakistan has repudiated your stand on Kashmir?
Pervez Musharraf: I don't know about the leadership. As in Pakistan most of the things are being politicised. So sometimes the reality on ground is something the politicians are not talking about. They are giving their views just for political leverage. As far as the ground realities are concerned, I know whatever I was doing was repudiated, accepted, supported by the people in Azad Kashmir. The leaders, the present Chief Minister of Azad Kashmir was in fact, openly saying that he has brought us a closest resolution on the dispute and he was totally supporting. I know All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) also most of them are supportive of my views. So as the Farooq Abdullah in Indian held Kashmir side as we call it so everyone is supporting it and that's the reality. I think that still holds good.
CNN-IBN: How confident are you that you would be able to return to Pakistan and stand for an election and play a political role?
Pervez Musharraf: I give it more than 50 per cent chance, that's why I'm entering into politics. Otherwise why would I do it? If there is no chance it would be very wrong decision on my part to enter into politics. It's only that I believe that there is a more than even chance of returning. I can't be hundred percent sure certainly. Nobody is 100 per cent sure. People are thinking what they have lost and what they are getting now. I think the real power is with the people.
CNN-IBN: With America backing you...Is General Kayani willing you back in?
Pervez Musharraf: I'm totally apolitical. It's only those people, few politicians I don't want to name, who always come up looking for army support, intelligence support, agency support. If that's the ways comes up I'm not for it. I need to come through people's support. I've served army for forty five years and I can never expect army being against me. That can never happen. I'm not just a soldier; I've led them through all kith and keen. Therefore they know where I stand and can never be against me. At the same time, I can't expect them to come up supportive openly for me and my political ambitions.
CNN-IBN: What about America?
Pervez Musharraf: I don't know about America, you should ask Americans. I know I'm not an unpopular figure in America. In United States I'm a quite popular figure.
CNN-IBN: Do you believe the American who have always a key role in transition in Pakistan, they will back you up again?
Pervez Musharraf: I don't' think they play a key role. It's an over estimation which everyone thinks and puts everything good and bad on American soldier. Whatever bad, the United States is doing, that's not the ground reality. Being at the helm for nine years I know what people are saying and what America was doing really or is capable of doing. So the over valuing what they do in Pakistan is not the case. It's an important country and it's a super power in nuclear world, therefore their views have some weightage.
CNN-IBN: Just a clarification on your remark that Pakistan supports for terrorists and terrorism is still a case now. There are still identifiable groups in Pakistan and being backed by the intelligence agencies. Your comments…
Pervez Musharraf: That is the point I have made right in the beginning. I'm not that naive to pass such a comment. There is no question of the army, intelligence or the ISI creating Mujahideen groups, training them and sending them in. That's not the case and it does not require to be done. There is a huge public sympathy in Pakistan and there are thousands of people who are volunteers to go to Kashmir and to fight for their Kashmiri brothers. I would say the Indian government should realize that they must stop atrocities in Kashmir. It is terrible that the atrocities are going on against the innocent Kashmiris in Kashmir. It has a great negative impact in Pakistan. All the Mujahideen groups get strengthened because people want to go to Kashmir themselves. It does not require the Army or the intelligence to do anything. Hizbul Mujahideen group was created in your part of Kashmir and then they ran away from their after military atrocities. All these Mujahideen groups got created on their own. I've never said that and there was a little misunderstanding in what I was saying, that got politicized in Pakistan and then people writing in India. But that's not the case.