LeT has tremendous public support in Pak: Musharraf

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday said that Lashkar-e-Toiba enjoys "tremendous public support" in Pakistan and it will not be easy for the government to take action against them.

Musharraf, who held a press conference after addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Saturday, said the LeT enjoyed support of people in Pakistan due to its humanitarian work. "They have tremendous public support and during the earthquake in Pakistan, the best NGO doing welfare for the people was their front organisation," he said.

On Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, believed to be the mastermind behind 2008 Mumbai attacks, Musharraf said he did not agree with the former's notion of jihad. "I think his call to jihad is certainly not correct. I certainly do not agree with that. I think a time has come for reconciliation and in my time, we were on a conciliatory course with India. We were trying to resolve our disputes," he added. Musharraf said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was expected to visit Islamabad in 2007, and added that both countries could have resolved the Siachen and Sir Creek disputes then.

He rebutted the opinion that Pakistan intelligence knew al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden was in hiding there. "There was no complicity. I am 500 per cent sure. There was negligence... Even the CIA could not see 9/11 happening," Musharraf said.

Musharraf said the Pakistan Army was in favour of peace with New Delhi and stressed that the Kashmir issue, "the root cause of dispute", needs to be resolved as it provides fuel to extremism in his country.

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