Change attitude towards Pakistan, Musharraf tells India

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India and Pakistan must  change the way they treat each other and bury a “dirty past” to  tackle growing militancy in the region together, Pakistan’s  former President Pervez Musharraf said  yesterday.

“The past has been dirty, the past has been bad, but don’t  put the blame on Pakistan,” Musharraf said at a media event in  New Delhi late yesterday. “You tried to do damage to us, we  were not sitting idle, we tried to damage you.”

He said both countries were to be blamed for decades of  mistrust and dispute, but now need to move ahead.
“There is a need for attitudal change, more in India less in  Pakistan,” the former army general said, referring to India’s  regular allegations that Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter  Services Intelligence (ISI), and the Pakistan army were behind  militant strikes in India.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence  from Britain in 1947 and came to the brink of a fourth after  gunmen attacked the Indian parliament in December 2001.

India also paused talks on a peace process between the two  countries after it blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba for the  Mumbai attacks last November in which nearly 170 people died.

India says its nuclear-armed rival has done little to clamp  down on militant activity on its soil.
Musharraf asked India to stop what he described as “Pakistan  bashing” and instead urged New Delhi to help the ISI and  Pakistan’s army fight militancy in the region.

“Help the Pakistan army and the ISI to tackle them  (militants) and please don’t malign them,” the former army chief  said, adding that Pakistan’s army and the ISI wanted peace with  India.

The former president, who stepped down in August last year,  said the army and the ISI were the best bets to fight the  growing influence of the Taliban and militancy in Pakistan.

“Please don’t create misunderstanding in the world against  the ISI and the army,” he said.
Pakistani authorities have been criticised after gunmen  fired at the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore on Tuesday.
“Pakistan is critical under the present circumstances to  fight terrorism and extremism, Pakistan is critical to bring  peace in the region,” Musharraf said.

The former army general said the solution to end militancy  in the region lay in finding a peaceful solution for Kashmir.

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