Pathankot Attack Was by 'Non-State Actors', Claims Musharraf

New Delhi
Pathankot Attack Was by 'Non-State Actors', Claims Musharraf

The audacious attack on the frontline Pathankot air base was carried out by "non-state actors" and Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar, suspected to be its mastermind, should not be roaming free in Pakistan, former President Pervez Musharraf has said.

The former Pakistani military ruler also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lahore outreach, saying he was not sincere in engaging with Islamabad and that there was no substance in his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif as it was just "optics".

72-year-old Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, said he was confident that Pakistan Army and spy agency ISI had nothing to do with the Pathankot attack, asserting that the country's military establishment was "100 per cent" for peace between the two neighbours.

"Pathankot was carried out by non-state actors," Musharraf told CNN-IBN.

In a pre-dawn attack, a group of heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists, believed to be belonging to JeM, attacked the Pathankot air base on January 2 killing seven security personnel. Six terrorists were also killed in the incident.

India has blamed JeM for the Pathankot attack and has been seeking action against the terror outfit and its chief Masood Azhar.

India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks, scheduled for January 15 in Islamabad, were deferred to near future by both the countries mutually in the wake of the attack.

"Masood Azhar should not be roaming free after trying to assassinate me," a release by the channel quoted Musharraf as saying. JeM is blammed for two attempts to assassinate Musharaf in 2003.

On the peace initiative, Musharraf said under Modi and Sharif, substance was missing in Indo-Pak engagements.

"Optics is fine but diplomacy is about substance," he said, adding "behind Modi-Nawaz meeting and greeting, there's no substance".

Modi sprang a surprise by making an unscheduled visit to Lahore on his way back from Kabul on December 25 to greet Sharif on his birthday.

Both the leaders had talks during which they decided to open ways for peace for the "larger good" of the people of the two countries.

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