New Delhi [India], February 6 (ANI): Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday responded to the BJP's barb over his condolence tweet for Pakistan's former military ruler Parvez Musharraf, saying that the BJP was attacking its 'own PM'.
Speaking to ANI on Monday, the Congress MP said, "I don't know why BJP wants to attack their own PM (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) for his policies. After Musharraf's demise, I recalled that they (Vajpayee and Musharraf) were implacable enemies who later worked for 4 years to build peace. I leave it to the BJP to decide if they want to attack Vajpayee. We are too polite to attack Vajpayee," said Tharoor.
Tharoor's clarification followed criticism from the BJP over an earlier tweet in which he called the former military ruler, considrered widely as the architect of the Kargil conflict of 1999, as a "real force for peace".
The BJP government under PM Vajpayee had negotiated a ceasefire with Pakistan, Tharoor claimed, adding that there was a joint statement which was followed by a handshake by the two leaders.
"Musharraf was an absolute implacable enemy of ours, and was responsible for Kargil. But after 2002, it was a different story. The BJP govt of PM Vajpayee negotiated a ceasefire with Pakistan. There was a joint statement followed by a handshake by Vajpayee and Musharraf," said Tharoor.
"Why did the BJP negotiate a ceasefire and sign a joint statement with Pervez Musharraf, if he was 'anathema to all patriotic Indians?" Tharoor said.
"Question to BJP leaders frothing at the mouth: if Musharraf was anathema to all patriotic Indians, why did the BJP government negotiate a ceasefire with him in 2003 & sign the joint Vajpayee-Musharraf statement of 2004? Was he not seen as a credible peace partner then?" Tharoor tweeted.
"I was raised in an India where you are expected to speak kindly of people when they die. Musharraf was an implacable enemy and was responsible for Kargil but he did work for peace w/India, in his own interest, 2002-7. He was no friend but he saw strategic benefit in peace, as did we," Tharoor had tweeted earlier.
"'Pervez Musharraf, Former Pakistani President, Dies of Rare Disease': once an implacable foe of India, he became a real force for peace 2002-2007. I met him annually in those days at the UN and found him smart, engaging and clear in his strategic thinking. RIP," Tharoor tweeted in his condolence message for the former Pakistan military ruler.
Tharoor's tweet was met with fierce criticism from the BJP, with Union minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar saying his post "best describes Cong" (Congress).
"Nothing like a proper military thrashing for Fatcat Pak Dictator Generals to become a "force for peace" and develop "clear strategic thinking". Notwithstanding many lives lost n Intl laws violated n harm caused all around, these Generals will have their admiring fans in India (sic)," Chandrasekhar tweeted.
In another tweet, Chandrasekhar said, "That a former Cong Foreign Min (a party that refused to celebrate Kargil Vijay Diwas till 2010) wud think that a Pak General who inflicted terror, a backstabbing conflict n tortured our Soldiers in violation of every Intl law, wud be a force for peace -- best describes Cong."
Musharraf passed away on Sunday at a hospital in the UAE after a prolonged illness, reported Daily Pakistan.
Musharraf was Pakistan's army chief during the Kargil conflict. (ANI)