Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today attacked the BJP after criticizing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for calling former Pakistani president and army chief Pervez Musharraf, who died on Sunday, “a real force for peace”. He questioned why the previous BJP government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee negotiated a ceasefire with Mr Musharraf.
“Question on the face of BJP leaders: If Musharraf is dirty to all patriotic Indians, why did the BJP government negotiate a ceasefire with him in 2003 and sign the Vajpayee-Musharraf joint statement of 2004? Wasn’t he seen as a credible peacemaker? So mate?” Mr. Tharoor tweeted on Sunday.
“I grew up in an India where you are expected to speak kindly to people when they are dying. Musharraf was an implacable enemy and was responsible for Kargil but he worked for his own sake, for peace with India in 2002-7. What a friend he is.” But he saw the strategic advantage in peace, as we did,” Mr Tharoor said.
The Congress MP’s first condolence tweet, soon after the news of his death. Triggered a series of accusations and counter-accusations.
“Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistani president, dies of rare disease”: Once an implacable enemy of India. He became a real force for peace 2002-2007,” Mr Tharoor said in his first tweet on the matter.
“I met him every year at @un and found him smart, engaging and clear in his strategic thinking. RIP,” the former minister of state for foreign affairs said.
Mr Tharoor’s post drew sharp criticism from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar attacked Mr Tharoor, saying his post best describes the “Congress”.
Mr. Chandrasekhar, taking to Twitter, condemned the grand old party for finding peace in a man who “backstabbed terrorism. And tortured our soldiers in violation of every international law”.
“Fatcat is nothing like a proper military beating for Pak dictator generals to become a “force for peace” and develop “clear strategic thinking”. Many lives lost n violation of international laws and damage all around, these generals will have their adoring fans. In India (sic).” Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar wrote in his tweet.
Several BJP leaders accused the Congress of “Pakistan parasti (worship)”. Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia asked if it was part of a “hand se haat jodo campaign” with the enemy.
“An Indian ‘national’ party leader first questioned the bravery of our soldiers in Pulwama.” Mr Scindia said in an apparent reference to Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s recent comments.
“Then another praises Pervez Musharraf who was responsible for the Kargil war. Hand in hand with the enemy?” Mr Scindia said on Twitter on Monday.
Congress launched “Haat Se Haat Jodar Abhiyan” to spread the message of Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Pervez Musharraf died last Sunday at the American Hospital in Dubai, UAE after years of self-imposed exile after a long illness. He was 79.
A disease called amyloidosis caused Mr Musharraf’s limbs to fail. The disease affects connective tissues and organs, preventing normal functioning. It is a rare disease that causes an abnormal protein called amyloid to build up in organs and tissues throughout the body.
Pervez Musharraf was known as the architect of the Kargil War, who ordered his troops to enter India to separate Leh from Srinagar.
In the ensuing battle in the summer of 1999, Pakistani troops, whose presence he denied, perished in the high mountains of Kargil. It was a disastrous military failure for Mr. Musharraf, who pushed through the plan while keeping his prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, in the dark.