Former Pakistani president and army chief Pervez Musharraf has claimed that not only was Hafiz Saeed not involved in the Mumbai terror attacks, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief is not considered to be a terrorist in Pakistan.
"I don't think Saeed was behind the 26/11 attacks. In Pakistan, we don't call him a terrorist," the 73-year-old Musharraf was d as saying by news agency PTI.
The 26/11 attacks, in which 10 terrorists laid seige to India's financial capital for three days, left 166 people dead. The terrorists sailed from Pakistan and were trained by the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit.
India has blamed Saeed, whose JuD acts as a front of the LeT, of masterminding the dasterdly attacks.
68-year-old Saeed was even placed under a 90-day house arrest by Pakistan earlier this year amid reports that Islamabad was under pressure from the new US President Donald Trump to act against Saeed and JuD.
Saeed was also put under house arrest after Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 but he was freed by court in 2009.
'SAEED NOT AN ISSUE IN US'
In his latest comments, Musharraf alsos said, "Let me surprise you. The Hafiz Saeed issue is an issue in India, not in the United States."
"They may be talk about Haqqani and Shakil Afridi they don't talk about Hafiz Saeed, only India keeps talking about him," the former Pakistani dictator said.
Saeed carries a reward of USD 10 million announced by the United States for his terror activities. His organisation JuD was declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by Washington in June 2014.
'MODI DOESN'T WANT PEACE'
Referring to the current relations between Pakistan and India, Musharraf said, "If the current prime minister of India [Narendra Modi] wants peace, he is in the best position to go for peace with Pakistan. But he doesn t want it."
The former dictator also said that he would like to contest the 2018 general elections.
"Yes, I am looking to relaunch my political career, The Express Tribune d Musharraf as saying, citing excerpts from his interview with WION (World Is One News) TV channel.
'DON'T WANT TO BE PM'
Musharraf, however, said he was not keen on becoming the prime minister of Pakistan. "I want to create a political force. A third political force. But not necessarily be the next prime minister," he said.
"There are many good people who can run Pakistan," he said. "I would like to contribute by using all my experience to guide someone who is good."
Denying any sort of criticism over his plans to join either Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) or Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Musharraf said his earlier decision to join them was something the country needed at the time to eliminate corruption and nepotism.
"It didn't come under criticism. I think, that was the call of the day. I think the requirement of a third political force that I am talking of needs combination or joining alliances of like-minded people, who see Pakistan in an enlightened and progressive way."
Musharraf, who lives in self-imposed exile, faces several cases in Pakistan. Last time he returned from abroad in 2013 to contest elections but had to face tough time due to several cases. Those cases are still pending.
(With inputs from PTI)