Islamabad, July 20: In an unusual gesture, General Pervez Musharraf went on television today to grieve with Mumbai and vowed to fight terror shoulder to shoulder with India.
“I want to tell the people of Mumbai that we are extremely saddened by the loss of lives and I condole with the bereaved families,” Musharraf said.
“I want to assure them that Pakistan and its people are with you in this moment of grief and in fighting terrorism.”
In India, the address, given on a day the foreign secretaries of the two countries were to meet in New Delhi, has raised a question that is looking for an answer.
There are no clear explanations yet for the motive. The President has talked on various occasions about the blasts, condemning them as well as telling India that it should not allow the peace process to be held hostage by terrorists.
So it’s not just that he wanted to express his views and, therefore, spoke on TV. The address contained little that is not known, though he talked about other issues also.
Musharraf said India’s decision to postpone the foreign secretaries’ talks was “a victory for the terrorists”.
“Deferring the peace process and dialogue is clearly playing into the hands of terrorists. This is exactly what they want ' that peace and normalisation process should be stopped.
“I am sure this is what India does not want,” he said in the 90-minute speech.
New Delhi has said the conditions ' with the general view in India being that Pakistan was in some way responsible for the blasts ' are not conducive for holding talks.
Musharraf appealed to India to not indulge in a “blame game”. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the blasts could not have been carried out without support from across the border.
“We must think and behave carefully and with patience and give comments thoughtfully,” Musharraf said.
“India should share whatever evidence it had about perpetrators of the crimes but avoid making unsubstantiated allegations.”