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Pakistan intelligence used JeM militants: Ex-PM

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Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf gestures during a news conference in Islamabad, November 11, 2007. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

ISLAMABAD (ANI) – Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has admitted that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) is a terror organisation and claimed that Pakistani intelligence had used the outfit to carry out suicide attacks in India during his tenure.

In a telephone interview with Pakistani journalist Nadeem Malik of Hum News on March 5, Musharraf welcomed the Pakistan government’’s move to take action against JeM and blamed the terror outfit for carrying out a suicide attack on him at Jhanda Chichi in Rawalpindi in 2003 when he was Pakistan’s president. “I have always said that JeM is a terror organisation and they tried to assassinate me in a suicide attack at Jhanda Chichi in Rawalpindi in 2003. The suicide bomber pressed a button a few seconds late and I had crossed the bridge by that time. Action should be taken against them (JeM). I am happy that the government is taking a tough stand against them,” said Mr Musharraf, who served as Pakistan’s president from 2001 to 2008.

Facing mounting international pressure, the Pakistan government on Tuesday said that 44 activists of various outfits, including its leader Masood Azhar’s brother Mufti Abdur Rauf and son Hamza Azhar, have been taken into “preventive detention” as part of a crackdown on terror groups.

Asked why he had not taken any action against the Masood-led outfit when he was in power, Mr Musharraf acknowledged that he should have done so while claiming that “those were different times.”

“Our intelligence was involved in a tit-for-tat between India and Pakistan. They were carrying out bomb blasts in Pakistan and we were getting it done there (in India). This was going on and amidst this, no action was taken against JeM. I also did not insist on taking action,” he said.

Mr Musharraf’s statement is contradictory to what the Pakistan Army had said, claiming that JeM “does not exist” in the country.

“Jaish-e-Mohammad does not exist in Pakistan. It has been proscribed by the United Nations and Pakistan,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, the Pakistani Army’s spokesperson, told CNN on Wednesday.

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