Musharraf admits Kashmir militants trained in Pakistan

Pervez Musharraf in London, 1 Oct Pervez Musharraf criticised international 'apathy' over Kashmir

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Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf has told a magazine that his forces trained militant groups to fight in Indian-administered Kashmir.

He told the German magazine, Der Spiegel, that the government turned a blind eye because it wanted to put pressure on India to enter talks.

India has always alleged that Pakistan trained militants in the 1990s.

But this is thought to be the first time such a senior figure in Pakistan has admitted it.

Mr Musharraf said in the interview that militant groups "were indeed formed" in part because of the international community's "apathy" over the Kashmir dispute.

The retired general also indicated that he did not regret the Kargil intrusion (by Pakistani soldiers disguised as militants) that led to skirmishes with India in 1999.

Apology

"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 resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner," Mr Musharraf said.

Last week Mr Musharraf apologised for "negative" actions he took while in power, as he launched his new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, in London.

Mr Musharraf said: "I... sincerely apologise to the whole nation" for the "negative repercussions".

But he vowed to galvanise Pakistanis and fight a "jihad against poverty, hunger, illiteracy and backwardness".

Correspondents said there was no real likelihood of him returning soon.

Mr Musharraf seized power in 1999 when, as chief of Pakistan's army, he ousted elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup.

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