Why did BJP govt negotiate ceasefire with Musharraf: Tharoor’s reply to BJP

Why did BJP govt negotiate ceasefire with Musharraf: Tharoor’s reply to BJP

With several BJP leaders attacking him for “eulogising” former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf in his condolence message, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday (February 6) took to Twitter to ask “if Musharraf was anathema to all patriotic Indians, why did the then BJP government negotiate a ceasefire with him in 2003” and sign a joint statement in 2004.

Musharraf died in Dubai on Sunday after battling an incurable disease. He was 79.

Tharoor, former minister of state for external affairs, tweeted on Sunday: “Pervez Musharraf, Former Pakistani President, Dies of Rare Disease: once an implacable foe of India, he became a real force for peace 2002-2007. I met him annually in those days at the @un & found him smart, engaging & clear in his strategic thinking. RIP.”

To that, BJP leaders accused him and his colleagues in the Congress of “Pakistan parasti (worship).” In a sly reference to Congress’s latest project, Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia asked whether it was part of the “Haath Se Haath Jodo Abhiyan” with enemies.

Dig at Haath Se Haath Jodo Abhiyan

“An Indian national party’s leader first casts doubts on our soldiers’ act of bravery in Pulwama,” Scindia wrote, in an apparent reference to Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s recent remarks. “Then another one eulogises Pervez Musharraf who was responsible for the Kargil war. Haath se haath jodo abhiyaan with enemies?” Scindia tweeted on Monday.

Congress has launched the Haath Se Haath Jodo Abhiyan to spread the message of Rahul Gandhi’s “apolitical” Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Apparently responding to the dig by BJP leaders, Tharoor tweeted, “Question to BJP leaders frothing at the mouth: if Musharraf was anathema to all patriotic Indians, why did the BJP Government negotiate a ceasefire with him in 2003 & sign the joint Vajpayee-Musharraf statement of 2004?” Tharoor went on to ask, “Was he not seen as a credible peace partner then?”

Before that, Tharoor tweeted late on Sunday, “I was raised in an India where you are expected to speak kindly of people when they die. Musharraf was an implacable enemy &was responsible for Kargil but he did work for peace w/India, in his own interest, 2002-7. He was no friend but he saw strategic benefit in peace, as did we.”

“Bottom line is he was a Pakistani”

Only BJP MP Subramanian Swamy tweeted that Musharraf’s death was sorrowful for those like him who knew him personally. “He came to power in Pakistan through a coup but was always anxious to find a way to peace with India. Of course bottom line is he was a Pakistani,” Swamy tweeted on Monday.

Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, too, slammed Tharoor for his tweet. “Nothing like a proper military thrashing for Fatcat Pak Dictator Generals to become a force for peace and develop clear strategic thinking. Notwithstanding many lives lost n Intl laws violated n harm caused all around, these Generals will have their admiring fans in India (sic),” Chandrasekhar tweeted.

In another tweet, he wrote, “That a former Cong Foreign Min (a party that refused to celebrate Kargil Vijay Diwas till 2010) wud think that a Pak General who inflicted terror, a backstabbing conflict and tortured our Soldiers in violation of every Intl law, wud be a force for peace – best describes Cong (sic).”

Also read: Pervez Musharraf: The General behind Kargil war and failed Agra Summit

“Misplaced priorities”

Tagging Tharoor’s earlier tweets, BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla wrote, “Pervez Musharraf architect of Kargil, dictator, accused of heinous crimes who considered Taliban & Osama as brothers & heroes who refused to even take back bodies of his own dead soldiers is being hailed by Congress! Are you surprised? Again, Congress ki pak parasti!”

BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia also slammed Tharoor on Twitter: “Sharm ek Sheikh to Sharm Kar Shashi. Misplaced priorities of a former external affairs minister. Congress eulogising a person who attacked our country during Kargil. Indians revere martyrs Capt Vikram Batra, Lt Manoj Pandey, Grn Yogendra Yadav, Rifleman Sanjay Kumar not Pervez,” he tweeted.

Musharraf, who lived in self-imposed exile in the UAE to avoid criminal charges against him in Pakistan, died at the American Hospital in Dubai. He was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare disease caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body, according to his family.

Musharraf was born on August 11, 1943, in Delhi. He assumed the post of Chief Executive after imposing martial law in the country in 1999 and served as the president of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008.

(With agency inputs)

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