Former Pakistan President Musharraf calls for ties with Israel to mitigate India crisis

by WorldTribune Staff, February 28, 2019

Pakistan has an opportunity to build relations with a willing Israel to counter India, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said. He warned about the danger of war between the two nuclear-armed powers.

“There is a need to break the alliance between India and Israel, and Pakistan could do it very easily,” Musharraf said at a recent news conference, according to Karachi-based newspaper Dawn.

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf

Tensions between the two nuclear states boiled over after a Feb. 14 suicide car bombing in Kashmir killed 40 members of India’s security forces. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack.

India’s government said its fighter jets destroyed a JeM camp in Pakistan on Feb. 26, killing 300 people.

Pakistan’s air force said it shot down two Indian fighter jets in the Kashmir region on Feb. 27.

Musharraf, who was ousted in 2008, has been living in self-exile in Dubai. He currently leads the All-Pakistan Muslim League (APML) and said he will be ready to return to Pakistan once he sees the political environment in his country favorable.

During the news conference, the former president called for Pakistan to establish relations with Israel and contended that Israel would be receptive.

Mentioning that both Pakistan and Israel were facing “existential threats,” Musharraf recalled his efforts to build relations with Israel when he was in power. He said he had addressed the American Jewish Congress in New York. He said it was due to his efforts that the then foreign minister Khursheed Kasuri had a meeting with his Israeli counterpart in Turkey.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that a captured Indian pilot, whose jet was downed during a dogfight between Pakistani and Indian warplanes, would be released on March 1 as a “gesture for peace.”

The Indian Air Force (IAF) shot down a Pakistani F-16 on Feb. 27 in Lam valley of Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowshera sector, according to Zee News. Three aircraft had violated and crossed into Indian air space in retaliatory fire at the Line of Control. The aircraft reportedly entered up to two kilometers inside Indian territory but retreated after being intercepted by IAF fighters, the report said.

There are also reports from Baluchistan that Iran has deployed jet fighters on the Pakistani border.

Musharraf said that India and Pakistan tensions had again reached a “dangerous level.”

A similar situation had developed in 2002 when India had deployed its army, navy and air force along Pakistan’s border for 10 months, he said. However, he added, India chose to withdraw its forces after seeing Pakistan’s readiness.

Musharraf said talks about any nuclear attack were rubbish and said if Pakistan would attack India with one atomic bomb, then India could “finish us by attacking with 20 bombs. The only solution is that we should first attack them with 50 atom bombs so that they cannot hit us with 20 bombs. Are you ready to first launch an attack with 50 bombs?” he said in response to a question about the possibility of any nuclear war between the two countries.

“It is not so simple. Do not talk like this. There is always a military strategy,” he added.

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