London: Days after candidly admitting that Pakistan trained underground militant groups to fight against India in Kashmir because it felt that was the only way to bring India to address the issue, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has done a volte-face on his controversial statement, saying that he had never said so.
"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 politicised in Pakistan and then people writing in India. But that`s not the case," The Nation quoted Musharraf, as saying to a TV channel.
"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," he added.
The former general, who has been living in London in self-imposed exile for nearly two years, and now planning to make a comeback in Pakistani politics, claimed that all the `Mujahideen` groups get strengthened because "people want to go to Kashmir themselves”.
"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 realise that they must stop atrocities in Kashmir," he stated.
He completely denied acknowledging Pakistan Army`s involvement in preparing militant groups for fighting against India in the Kashmir valley.
"It does not require the Army or the intelligence to do anything. Therefore what I said was that happening in the past and I did not at all said about the Army and ISI. Hizbul Mujahideen group was created in your part of Kashmir and then they ran away from there," he said.
His remarks came in response to a statement during his interview to German magazine Der Spiegel, in which he had said that Pakistan had "indeed formed" underground groups to fight against India in Kashmir.
"The West was ignoring the resolution of the Kashmir issue, which is the core issue of Pakistan. We expected the West -- especially the United States and important countries like Germany -- to resolve the Kashmir issue. Has Germany done that?" he had added.
When asked if that (the West ignoring the Kashmir issue) gave Pakistan the right to train underground fighters, Musharraf had replied, "Yes, it is the right of any country to promote its own interests when India is not prepared to discuss Kashmir at the United Nations, and is not prepared to resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner."