New Delhi: The former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf on Monday made an exceptional statement claiming that Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar – suspected to be the mastermind of Pathankot terror attack – should not be roaming free in Pakistan.
In an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN, Musharraf said, “He (Masood Azhar) is a non-state actor; I wanted to deal with him earlier. I am reasonably sure that he is behind the terror attack in Pathankot. Neither Pakistani Army nor ISI backed Azhar in planning Pathankot attack.”
“The Pathankot terror attack was carried out by non-state actors. “Masood Azhar should not be roaming free (in Pakistan) after trying to assassinate me,” he said.
Sources said, in 2003 Masood reportedly tried to assassinate Musharraf.
Claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not sincere in engaging talks with Islamabad, the former military ruler said, “I personally feel that there was no substance in his meeting with Nawaz Sharif as it was just ‘optics’.
He said, “Optics is fine but diplomacy is about substance.”
He also stressed that Pakistan Army and ISI had nothing to do with the Pathankot terror. “The Pakistani military establishment was 100 per cent for peace between the two neighbours,” he added.
On January 2, a group of heavily-armed JeM terrorists attacked the Pathankot air force base killing seven security personnel. Six terrorists were also killed in the incident. The terror attack took place days after Modi made a surprise visit to Lahore on his way back from Kabul on December 25 to wish Sharif on his birthday.
Then India sought action against the terror outfit and its chief Masood Azhar and the foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan was put on hold.